Millions in Private Investment to make Haiti Tourist Magnet

The government of Haiti (GOH) wants to rebuild the island by developing its hospitality infrastructure to increase tourism. Haiti, at one time, had a thriving tourist industry, but the 2010 earthquake changed all that. Now GOH is banking on foreign investors to resuscitate Haiti's ailing tourist trade. It has signed contracts with private investors, giving them tax breaks over a 15-year period to develop resort projects. To sweeten the deal, GOH is also extending exemptions for import duties, so 11 hospitality projects can be given the go-ahead. The total sum of the proposed projects amounts to $160 million USD. Another $100 million in in-progress ventures is also on the books.


More pictures about the Tourism industry in Haiti

But those opposed to spendthrift GOH warn other essential components of rebuilding Haiti are being ignored: road projects, clean water access, and a dependable source of electricity. However, the GOH is forging ahead with Venezuelan-backed projects in Ile à Vache and Jacmel, totaling $21.2 million. The GOH is betting on these two projects to jump-start tourism to the island.

Despite an influx of cash to build tourist infrastructure, other problems may discourage more tourism: the crime rate is very high, medical assistance is almost non-existent, and Haiti has been characterized by the U.S. State Department as a central drug-trafficking corridor in the Caribbean. A cosmetic face-lift is not enough to rebuild Haiti. Its essential services, job creation, and government efficiency must come first in a country that wants to be considered a true democracy.

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