The Haitis Tourist Industry

By: Douglas Scott

Haiti, in the West Indies, occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic.

A tiny tropical island sits in the Caribbean, decorated with palm trees and colourful flowers. Its mountains stand majestically looking down upon sandy beaches and green valleys. There are no tourist resorts dotting the coasts, no high rise hotels with sand volleyball courts and marimba bands. Haiti is different

With its mountainous scenery and tropical climate, Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, has the basic ingredients of a holiday destination. However, decades of poverty, instability and violence, especially since the 1980s, have all but killed off this prospect and left it as the poorest nation in the Americas.

There are a few lovely palm lined beaches, black sand and powder white sands. Haitians generally prefer cooler mountain settings than beaches. It has clear waters and offers a good setting for swimming, snorkelling and nature walks.

Crafts are excellent buys and, of course, its art is world renowned for its vitality.

Cuisine is a wonderful mix of Caribbean and African sensibilities.

The roads are appalling, the electricity supply is sporadic, and the vast majority live in dire poverty. This is one of the poorest countries in the world.

A new international airport in 1965 and improved relations with the United States helped Haitis tourism industry to flourish in the 1970s.

Haitis tourist industry tended to be an enclave economic activity, distinguished by all inclusive, self contained beach resorts. Clearly, the tourist industry needs revamping. The Secretary of State for Tourism mentions that one of their goals is to multiply the 1600 hotel rooms available in the country by a factor of ten over the medium term. We want to be specific and upmarket. Our master plan is rooted in our cultural and natural assets. According there are areas that have been targeted for optimum development, and international consortia have made funds available for those projects namingly Haiti.

The peoples social and cultural links with their West African ancestry, and their vibrant Vodou religion and associated artistic creativity, make Haiti well worth a visit. In a world where one country is starting to look much like another, Haiti is still startlingly fresh to the jaded Western traveller.

Go to Haiti and see for yourselves what it has to offer I am sure you will have a great time whatever you doing.

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