Omaj pou Ayiti

Haiti Wants To Make Its Name In Tourism

They came bearing a colorful brochure, new logo and hope that after years of disaster and crisis, Haiti will return to the tourism map.

“Everyone has sand and beach,” said Elsa Baussan Noel, tourism adviser to Haitian President Michel Martelly and a third-generation hotelier. “We have a pretty interesting religion mix. We have different music. We have artisans. We have culture.”

Noel was among more than 20 Haitian hotelier and wannabe hoteliers who worked the halls at the two-day Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment (CHRIS) Summit, which ended Tuesday in downtown Miami. The Haiti delegation was by far the largest representing any one country.

The third annual conference attracted more than 300 hospitality consultants, real estate developers, brand executives, chief bank economists and the biggest hotel investors in the Caribbean. Participants focused on recent tourism trends in the Caribbean, which is rebounding despite the global economic downturn. Demand for new hotel rooms is up, participants said, but they noted that securing financing remains difficult.

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