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Haiti tourism revival underway, in spite of itself
Haiti is one of the most fascinating destinations in the Caribbean but travelers still stay away, more than two years after an earthquake nearly destroyed much of what they came to see in 2010. Now, conditions are beginning to improve in Haiti and a revival of tourism is underway.
A construction development now in progress in Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince includes a recently-completed five-star Occidental Luxury Hotel. A Marriott hotel is also set to open in 2014. These are two of seven hotels on the books to be built in Haiti soon.
"Together, the projects add up to well over $100 million in new investment and will generate several thousand jobs in a nation still struggling to emerge from years of natural disasters and political turmoil," says Bloomberg Business Week.
In order to further reinforce Haiti tourism revival, major airports are also being repaired and updated. The Port-au-Prince International Airport (PAP) is currently going through a multi-million dollar reconstruction project. Another airport, Cap-Haitien International Airport (CAP), is also scheduled to be launched in 2013.
These rebuilding efforts will draw funds from what is being called a "tourist card" which will be mandated to all non-Haitian vacationers and tourists.
Soon, anyone without a Haitian passport will be required to purchase a $10 tourist card upon arrival. Taxes will also increase from $25 to $55 on airline tickets, similar to that in the neighboring Dominican Republic.
"Of course this would mean that tourists who wish to visit the country are expected to spend more than the usual, but the government and other tourism experts are convinced that this will eventually prove beneficial to all individuals and groups involved, especially for the people of Haiti."
All this activity is the result of sustained and united efforts from the Haitian government, non-profit organizations, corporate entities, and the worldwide community.
Still, its a slow road to recovery in Haiti, bogged down further by reports of brutal rape and poverty, not exactly the worldwide image that lush, tropical tourist destinations need to flourish.