Above: Ile a Vache (Photo: MT Haiti)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Haiti has revealed its plans for tourism development on the island of Ile a Vache.
The Ministry of Tourism is proposing the eventual development of 1,500 units on the 52-square-kilometre island, which is located off the southeast coast of Les Cayes, as part of an across-the-board tourism project.
“Ile a Vache is one of the last true treasure islands of the Caribbean,” the Ministry of Tourism said in its proposal. “Here, tourism is progressing slowly in a sustainable manner, building places of peace and well-being while helping local communities.”
The plan calls for laid-back, low-density eco-tourism-style development, highlighting areas like cultural heritage, agro-tourism and history, on an island with more than 20, mostly deserted beaches.
It will focus on sustainable tourism development, from a push for solar power to the use of electric shuttles instead of cars.
In the short term, the Ministry said it would begin presenting its master plan to potential investors in countries like the Dominican Republic, Qatar, China and the wider Caribbean, before beginning short-term investment in infrastructure.
The first phase of the project would be the Anse Dufour near the village of Madame Bernard; that development would primarily feature bungalows and villas.
The overall plan would create the “Village of Mary Anne,” a touristic village with restaurants, cafes, galleries and markets.
It would additionally include an agro-tourism component, proposing the creation of a community farm managed by locals that would allow visitors to take part in agricultural activities.
The Ministry emphasized that it would be working to ensure sustainable development on Ile-a-Vache, in its agricultural development and conservation.
It said the government would be working to develop standards of environmental protection and planning for the island, particularly to protect sensitive areas like coastal mangroves and fish habitats.
Haiti said it would be targeting four major types of travelers for the area: explorers and adventure travelers, romance travelers, members of the Haitian Diaspora and wellness travelers.
Haiti Prime Minister first mentioned the government’s interest in developing Ile-a-Vache in an interview with Caribbean Journal last year.