Haiti announced it has signed a multi-million dollar agreement with the US-based Carnival Cruise Lines to build a tourism port on the island of Latortue, north of the island. Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said the 70 million dollars project will help improve the lives of the estimated 36,000 people residing in the area.
“The project that Carnival Cruise Lines company is committed to developing in La Tortue is one that can help us fight poverty on the island,” Lamothe said, adding “and I believe that, as far as the future tourists are concerned, it is worth it to know that the money that you are spending while having fun is helping someone to get out of poverty.
“This should be very rewarding, and that is what I call a tourism of solidarity.”
The La Tortue project, described as the second largest cruise tourism investment in Haiti, will provide employment directly or indirectly for nearly 1,000 people.
Figures released by the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) show that Haiti recorded a 20% increase in tourist arrivals last year. But the figure is significantly lower than neighboring countries such as the Dominica Republic, Cuba and Jamaica where the average arrival was three million visitors.
But Prime Minister Lamothe said he was not perturbed, noting “what is interesting about tourism trends here is that Haiti has registered the biggest growth rate in tourists arrivals in the Caribbean, and this shows the growing interest there is for our destination and we’ll see more of that in the coming months and years”.
Last year, Haiti, in a partnership with several national and international groups, launched an ambitious project to turn another island, Ile-a-Vache (Cow Island), in the southern part of Haiti, into a direct international tourist destination with an international airport and other tourist infrastructure.