At a Former MINUSTAH Base, Tourism Hopes in Haiti

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Above: the former base and soon-to-be tourism school (Photo: MT Haiti)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

It was once the base of Senegalese soldiers in the MINUSTAH peacekeeping force in Haiti.

Now, the former UN building is set to reopen as a very different kind of facility as part of a major push for the Haitian government: tourism.

On May 3, the former base will debut as the Institute for Hotel and Tourism Training of Les Cayes, Haiti’s third-largest city, following a refurbishment by authorities of the Ministry of Tourism.

It is the first tourism trade school to open in the area. Haiti’s major hotel school, located in Port-au-Prince, was damaged by the 2010 earthquake and revived in part through funding from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Graduates of that school are going on to work at the recently-opened Royal Oasis Hotel in Petion-Ville.

Haiti Tourism Minister Stephanie Villedrouin has made training a priority as she has sought to develop the sector in a country that has been largely cut off from the normal pathways of tourism for decades.

Haiti began recruiting students for the school in January, drawing faculty from Les Cayes and the Hotel School of Port-au-Prince. Approximately 60 students will form the first class, the Ministry said.

The hotel’s opening had originally been slated to open in March.

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