The Next Caribbean Hotspot?
Haiti is known for many things—the terrible earthquake in 2010, extreme poverty and corruption… but not, at least recently, for tourism.
Although Haiti was once a popular destination decades ago (Bill and Hillary Clinton honeymooned there in 1975), much has changed. Haiti is now the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Its streets are filled with trash and sewage and there are few medical facilities. The crime rate is very high, with kidnappings, robberies and murders common occurrences.
Despite these problems, Haiti is beginning an ambitious marketing campaign to attract tourists.
"These revenues for our economy will help us eradicate poverty, and take out people [earthquake victims] from the tents,” Stephanie Villedrouis, Haiti’s minister of tourism, told NPR.
“Don't just send money through a wire or through an NGO for us. Come and experience Haiti because we have so much to showcase."
Officials cite the National Museum, a rum distillery and vast stretches of beach as popular attractions. However, on the fenced-in beach created by Royal Carribean Cruise Lines most tourists never venture beyond the perimeter.
To encourage more adventurous tourism, and the economic benefits it could produce, the government plans to invest in more infrastructure including airports, hotels and rental cars.
For the full story, visit NPR.