February 6, 2013 | 12:36 pm | Print
By Davidson Toussaint
HAITI, ONCE KNOWN as the “jewel of the islands,” has been facing insurmountable challenges since it achieved its independence in 1804.
Though each challenge presented its own opportunity, there has not been enough of a united effort over the years to bring the country out of its misery.
Haiti’s newest opportunity could be the country’s tourism sector – which presents tremendous opportunities, despite many apparent challenges.
The key, however, is that hidden inside these challenges are opportunities of their own.
Lack of vision
The old adage that “where there is no vision, the people perish,” rings loud and so true for Haiti. There have been many leaders in Haiti who had visions, but their efforts were ultimately futile in bringing about a change in the people’s minds.
For so long, Haitians have been duped into believing that each next man up is dedicated to the people and the country’s interests, when the reality is quite to the contrary.
Haiti is a proud country and full of people with a burning passion to see Haiti restore to its original mantra as a Caribbean jewel. But until there is a united movement with a clear vision, Haitians will not support any change deemed necessary for the advancement of the country.
Myths about Haiti
Ever since Haiti took its independence from France, the country has been marred in false myths and ideologies. Haiti was the first black nation that liberated itself forcefully. At that time, Haiti’s independence was lauded throughout the world with great vigour. It sparked other nations to follow suit in revolutions of their own.
Nevertheless, because Haiti was brave and valiant, other countries sought to demean it by spreading lies and rumors.
It is true that Haiti has been devastated by many disasters, both natural and unnatural. Many of its natural resources have been depleted, and many Haitians have sought to flee the country in the hopes of finding better lives elsewhere.
Regardless, Haiti remains a beautiful country with many natural attractions. Haiti is a gem, a diamond in the rough. And with the right leadership, Haiti will be known again as a jewel, and can capitalize on its tourism potential.
Haiti recently ushered in a new president who appears to understand the role he has to play in revitalizing the country.
At the core of Haiti’s tourism plan should be showcasing its natural beauty, with the aim of making Haiti a destination suitable for tourists to visit.
It will take a unified effort to launch Haiti’s tourism movement. But with time, Haiti can be re-discovered by international travelers.
Many more strategies can be outlined to show how Haiti will be benefit. But Haiti’s nascent tourism industry is a viable entity to highlight the country’s hidden beauty.
Davidson Toussaint is the Founder and CEO of Haiti Tourism, Inc.
Note: the opinions expressed in Caribbean Journal Op-Eds are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Caribbean Journal.
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