On Haiti & Mozambique: Development Strategies That Adopt Inclusive Tourism

As I look at the Concept Note describing our upcoming seminar on Inclusive Tourism in Mozambique and read comments on Haiti's tourism I see parallels -- and opportunities:

Topography map of Hispaniola.

Image via Wikipedia

Haiti was getting ready to capitalise on its sunny weather and tropical scenery to attract tourist to that impoverished island nation when the magnitude-7.0 earthquake rocked the French-speaking country, killing an estimated 200,000 and leaving millions homeless.

New hotels, new attention from international investors and buzz among travellers who have visited in recent years seem to signal a renewed interest in Haiti as a destination. Just two hours away by plane from Miami, Florida, the country had one of the strongest tourist industries in the Caribbean in the 1950s and '60s, according to Americas, the magazine of the Organisation of American States.

However, things began to change with the deterioration of the political climate.

Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic, Haiti's neighbour on the island of Hispaniola, welcomed almost four million people in 2008, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation.

Talk of "re-inventing Haiti" has even gone at far as UNWTO. Carlos Vogeler, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation's (UNWTO's) regional representative for the Americas recently commented:

Tourism can be one of the vehicles which can help Haiti to not go back to where they were because they were not in very good shape, but to go to a much better condition than the one they had before.

Note this article on RollingRains.com from before the earthquake, "Can Haiti be Brought Back into The World Tourism Circuit?"

In light of the recent disaster and world mobilization to rebuild the country I would say that the answer is, "Yes, if Inclusive Destination development is practiced."

I recommend that Haitian delegates attend the March 1-3 World Bank funded conference in Maputo on tourism, development, and disability. There we can transfer some relevant knowledge to Haiti through these delegates and plan a more tailored event for the country and for relief and reconstruction entities there.

Listen to Haiti's Tourism Minister Patrick Delatour and get a picture of the situation at:  http://www.theworld.org/tag/patrick-delatour/
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