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Monday, June 17, 2013

Northern Haiti Tourism Coalition Formed

Tourism Cares, Inc. and the Clinton Foundation announced a new project with the Haitian Ministry of Tourism  and  Tourism Association of Haiti (ATH) to develop the 2013-14 Northern Haiti Tourism Coalition (the Coalition), a collaborative effort to boost the tourism industry in Northern Haiti.  On May 29th a Memorandum of Understanding establishing the Coalition was signed by the four parties at the Tourism Hall of Fame Gala held by Tourism Cares.

The coalition project, initially funded with $10,000 grants from each organization, will at first focus on capacity-building projects needed to manage the expansion of tourism to Haiti’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, the National History Park of Citadelle/ Sans-Souci/ Ramiers .

The Clinton Foundation has provided funding and will work to attract new investments and tour operators to support the project.  Haiti’s Ministry of Tourism will support the Coalition’s initiatives through public facilitation and logistical support.  Tourism Cares will assess the needs for the region to provide positive experiences for visitors to the Citadelle. The ATH will host tourism professionals who will provide feedback for a better visitor experience for international tourists.  The Northern Haiti Tourism Coalition is open to other funders for matching grants or pledges in 2013 and 2014.

This joint project will help bring focus to the Citadelle as well as new developments in Haiti Tourism in the Northern Region, and evolve into a longer-term collaborative tourism development program that will help revitalize Haiti’s tourism sector.  The coalition will work closely with and contribute to major international efforts that are mobilizing development funds to Northern Haiti, including the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank/IFC (WB/IFC). Travel and tourism industry professionals who have recently visited the Citadelle Laferriere have identified the site as the key to sustainable tourism development in the North. A new road, currently under construction, will give access from Labadee to the Citadelle for Royal Caribbean and other cruise visitors, as well as tour operators and hoteliers who anticipate a substantial increase in domestic and global visitors to the National History Park.

Using lessons learned from nearby Dominican Republic and other Caribbean nations, as well as global tourism experience and planning at other World Heritage Sites, the Coalition will use its resources and expertise to aid in creating a sustainable tourism model, which will benefit the local communities of the North. The Coalition, particularly Tourism Cares, offers a pool of experts from the North American travel, tourism and hospitality industries who can offer technical assistance.

“Haiti has had a long tradition of hosting vacationers who have enjoyed its culture, history, arts and crafts, cuisine and beauty.  The members of this coalition believe that a renaissance is taking place in Haiti and its people and places can and will revive that tradition”, said Bruce Beckham, Executive Director of Tourism Cares. “The potential is there. We just have to help cultivate it.”

“Haiti is open for business and tourism leads the way” said Stephanie B. Villedrouin , Minister of Tourism. “Travel agencies, tour operators and investors are welcomed to evaluate the opportunities of our different regions“.

“Our members are ready to receive visitors and to partner with the various segments of the travel industry in the USA” said Richard Buteau President of ATH, Haiti’s Tourist Association.

About the Coalition Partners:

Ministry of Tourism (Institutional: www.tourisme.gouv.ht and Promotional: www.visithaiti.gouv.ht) – The Haitian Ministry of Tourism is the country’s state body, responsible for developing, implementing and guiding the Government policy in the field of Tourism, info@haititourisme.gouv.ht

Tourism Cares (www.tourismcares.org) – Since 2005, Tourism Cares has been the travel and tourism industry’s largest non-profit organization in America to “give back” to tourism sites worldwide.  Since 1999, grants have been given to 181 organizations in 42 states and 31 countries.  Since 1984, scholarships and student programs have assisted students of travel, tourism and hospitality.  The enhanced Global Outreach Program was launched in 2010.  Our mission is “To Preserve the Travel Experience for Future Generations”. Contact: Bruce Beckham, Executive Director, bruceb@tourismcares.org

Clinton Foundation (www.clintonfoundation.org) – The Clinton Foundation works to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment by fostering partnerships among governments, businesses, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and private citizens to turn good intentions into measurable results. Since 2001, the Clinton Foundation’s work has resulted in nearly 5 million people benefiting from lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment; more than 18,000 U.S. schools building healthier learning environments; more than 55,000 micro-entrepreneurs, small business owners, and smallholder farmers improving their livelihoods and communities; and more than 248 million tons of CO2 being reduced in cities around the world. And Clinton Global Initiative members have made more than 2,300 commitments that are improving the lives of more than 400 million people in more than 180 countries. For more information, visit clintonfoundation.org, read our blog at clintonfoundation.org/upclose, and follow us on Twitter @ClintonFdn and Facebook at Facebook.com/BillClinton.

Tourism Association of Haiti – Since 1951, ATH (Association Touristique d’Haiti) has been the leading association of hoteliers, airlines, tour operators, car rentals and regional destination organizations serving the economic development of Haiti through tourism and the principles established by the Ministry of Tourism.  ATH has a separate division focused on Northern Haiti and its tourism development to international markets. Contacts: President, Richard Buteau mrichardbuteau@karibehotel.com; Past President, Pierre Chauvet mpierre.chauvet@gmail.com