Branding Haiti’s Jacmel

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Above: Jacmel

By the Caribbean Journal staff

In June, Haiti Tourism Minister Stephanie Villedrouin unveiled a new logo for Haiti, featuring a hibiscus, the country’s national flower, and a sun.

That was the beginning of what Haiti hopes is a changing image of the country, particularly as a destination for travelers.

At the heart of the country’s strategy is Jacmel on Haiti’s southern Caribbean coast, where a host of projects are currently underway to preserve and renew the historic seafront city.

This week, Villedrouin met with 20 people involved in the Destination Jacmel initiative, which is part of the drive to turn the city into a tourism hub.

The group discussed the feasibility and usefulness of projects aimed at completing the rehabilitation programme of Jacmel’s historic centre.

They also held a series of focus groups on topics like art, food, culture, urbanization and hotels, along with proposing ideas like the construction of new vehicle parking infrastructure.

Jacmel’s biggest current project is Le Village de Port-Jacmel, a mixed-use hotel and entertainment complex featuring a 45-room, four-star boutique hotel that is the work of Miami-based hotel magnate Michael Capponi and the Capponi Khawly Vorbe Group.

That project, which is slated to open in the spring of 2013, will include art galleries, three restaurants and four bars, along with a spa, according to Capponi Group Haiti.

But that’s just part of the development on the way. At the end of July, Haiti’s government officially launched a group of infrastructure projects aimed at rehabilitating the historic centre.

Venezuela’s PetroCaribe fund is investing $40 million in similar infrastructure projects in Jacmel, including site remediation, the development of the airport and the construction of a convention centre.

Jacmel’s Cap Lamandou Waterview Hotel recently received $2.59 million in new funding, including a $349,000 loan from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund for physical renovations and upgrades.

And the city was also home to a project by global hospitality consulting firm HVS earlier this year to train 120 Haitian students in hospitality and tourism.

 

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