Putting Haiti on the tourism map is a role its new tourism minister, Stephanie Villedrouin, seems to relish. (Read more with Velledrouin, In the Hot Seat.)
The destination is showing signs of life two-and-a-half years after the January 2010 earthquake with the growth of brand hotels, heightened interest by investors, the focus on specific tourist regions, development of hospitality training centers and airport restoration projects.
"Haiti has beautiful areas that we need to promote even as we address and fix our problems," Villedrouin said. "Haiti is open for business, and tourism will lead the way."
Hotel development is helping to fuel that growth. Marriott International plans to open a 173-room hotel in the capital city of Port-au-Prince in 2014, and the 106-room Best Western Premier Petion-Ville near Port-au-Prince is slated to open in November.
Choice Hotels International is converting the former Cap Lamandou Hotel to a Comfort Inn in Jacmel, opening late this year.
Choice's second Haiti project also is in Jacmel, on the southern coast, about 45 miles southwest of the capital. The newbuild, 100-room Belle Rive will be an Ascend Collection property. No opening date has been set, but the hotel will be part of the planned Belle Rive development project, which will include townhouses, condos, restaurants and other tourist facilities.
Construction is well under way on the Royal Oasis Occidental in Petion-Ville, with an opening scheduled for next spring.