Haiti is planning its first new generation resort for 2014
StÃ©phanie Villedrouin, Minister of tourism, explains in this interview strategy that will follow to regain the confidence of investors and tourists.
Before joining the Government, StÃ©phanie Villedrouin worked as Director of hotel and was an active member of the Tourist Association of Haiti, created in 1956. New Tourism Minister chatted with Hosteltur news tourism during Fitur, the month of January in Madrid.
The word “HaitÃ”, after the earthquake of January 2010 and the fact that it is the poorest country in America, can awaken distrust among potential investors and tourists.
Our message is as follows: today we are not ready to receive the type of classic tourist travelling to the Caribbean. But we have elements and strategic plans to position ourselves as a destination in the near future. Of course there is poverty in Haiti, but there is not only this and nothing more.
can we confirm if there is new hotel projects underway?
Spanish chains, NH and Western, will manage two new establishments, which are already built. Best Western will also begin to operate another hotel.
who are the investors of these new hotels?
Tourist companies and hoteliers of the own Haiti, who have understood that we are now talking about industry. We also have the support of the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, which has invested 20 million dollars in the hotel project, which will be managed by the Western chain.
During the past few years tourism has been a craft activity in our country. Now as an industry, we have to offer at the destination, food safety, etc, if we want to be part of the tourist market of leisure, of which we carry out 25 years.
In his favour are that they are at the heart of the Caribbean, no?
Since then. The Caribbean is a region that attracts about 22 million tourists per year, in addition to 21 million cruise passengers. We want a part of that market, transmitting confidence to investors and tourists.
and how many tourists received Haiti in 2011?
we don’t have up-to-date statistics. We receive approximately some 600,000 visitors a year, though more than half are Haitians who live abroad. Also receive about 600,000 cruise passengers, which are hiker a day. Haiti now boasts 3,000 rooms of hotel.
returning to tourist investments would think attract them?
we offer a series of tax incentives, managed through a special department or “red carpet” for investors. [See more information at the official website of the Ministry]
investments aside, do offer guarantees about the level of training of the employees?
we have just signed an agreement for training with the Institute of hospitality of Quebec, Canada. We will train half a thousand people per year. But I’d like to point that in Dominican Republic, our neighbouring country, there are thousands of Haitians employed in the tourism industry. I.e. people already formed.
and already they convince them to return to Haiti to work?
everyone wants to return! Anyone who is working in another country wants to return to his own. What happens is that they want to be sure that they will have a good job, clear.
part of the 2010 earthquake, that year there was also an outbreak of cholera in Haiti.
is controlled. It is a disease linked to lack of access to hygiene. The hotels there is a single case. We see it as well: to put issues to the front, because they distort the image of the target, but we have to explain them there. Therefore recommend to customers, for example, not to take water in the street or go to renowned restaurants, basic things that are told in many other destinations tourist.
< br / > in the medium and long term, once become investments, has trained personnel, etc, your goal is signing agreements with tour operators?
in effect. Our dream is to inaugurate the first resort of new generation in 2014, with a new airport to less than 15 minutes, in the South of the country. They will be built at the same time. The hotel chain BarcelÃ³ already explained them the project.
what kind of resort will be?
will be an “all-inclusive regional”. You’ll sleep in the hotel, but eat outside the settlement, it will be a package. We involve small and medium-sized tourist enterprises. We are confident that it will be an innovative offer. Our goal is that tourism has a major economic impact on the local community arising out a middle class.