Strong Government Support Boosting Haiti Tourist Arrivals
Photo: Haiti has invested $345 million in tourism-related projects. Pictured is Haiti’s Pétionville district. (Photo by Brian Major).
Haiti is reporting measureable results following the government’s four-year campaign to boost tourist arrivals as a means of rebuilding the country’s economy following the 2010 earthquake. Working through Haiti’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Industries, the government has invested $345 million in tourism-oriented projects, infrastructure and related services in the past four years, officials said.
The impact of those investments is evident in Haiti’s growing visitor arrivals. In 2014, Haiti hosted 1,127,577 visitors, including 662,403 cruise ship passengers and 465,174 overnight, land-based tourists. The 2014 total represents a 10.8 percent increase compared with 2013. A year earlier, Haiti received 1,063,370 visitors (643,634 cruise passengers and 419,736 overnight tourists) a 20.2 percent increase over 2012.
Haiti’s recent tourism initiatives include 35 “tourist accommodation” projects, four national transportation projects, the Marina Blue and Duty Free Americas tourist projects and 2,180 hotel rooms built or currently under construction. In addition, 100 drivers and guides dedicated to serving visitors will ultimately be deployed in areas around the country, officials said.
Tourist developments are underway in Haitian cities and districts including Ile-à-Vache, Côtes-de-Fer, Jacmel, Ile de la Tortue, Cap-Haïtien and Côte des Arcadins, said Ministry officials in a statement.
The projects include “improvement of existing sites and tourist infrastructure,” the officials said, and the initiatives will support “various objectives in terms of economic growth, poverty reduction, social healing and economic and social development for the benefit of the population.”
The higher arrival figures come as major airlines expand service to Haiti. JetBlue, which last year launched its first-ever flight to the country, recently announced new seasonal flights to Haiti from Boston’s Logan Airport.
The new flights will join existing daily service between New York’s John F. Kennedy airport and Port-au-Prince, and twice-daily service between Fort Lauderdale and Port-au-Prince. The seasonal, nonstop service between Boston and Port-au-Prince will launch June 17 and operate through Sept. 5 pending government approval.
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