An International task force has been established to help respond to the immediate and long-term needs of tourism in Haiti.
The Jamaica-based Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center will be coordinating the task force, led by Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.
Earlier in the decade, led by then-Tourism Minister Stephanie Villedrouin, Haiti had seen its strongest tourism growth in decades, with new development and strong arrivals; in recent years, however, that growth stalled.
Now in the wake of the recent earthquake in the country, there’s renewed energy to revive the sector.
“We have to build back the tourism [sector] because that is the sustainable arrangement that will ensure the livelihood for the people,” Bartlett said.
Members of the task force include Adam Stewart, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sandals Resorts International; Group CEO, JMMB, Keith Duncan; Managing Director for Deals, Southern Cluster for PwC Tax and Advisory Services Limited, Wilfred Baghaloo; Minister of Tourism for Barbados and Chair of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Senator Lisa Cummings; Minister of Tourism for Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Ahmed Khateeb; and Minister of Tourism and Aviation for The Bahamas, Dionisio James D’Aguilar.
“Minister Bartlett has assembled an incredible team that will come together to use its collective strengths to aid in the recovery efforts in Haiti,” Sandals’ Stewart told Caribbean Journal. “Through the work of our Sandals Foundation, we have long supported efforts on the ground and we look forward to the continued learnings and pragmatic solutions this new task force will bring to the region.”
Also on the task force is Frank Rainieri, founder of Dominican Republic-based Grupo Puntacana, who has previously explored developing projects in Haiti.
Those talks initially focused on development in Haiti’s Cotes-de-Fer area on the southeastern coast of the country.
Rainieri almost single-handedly developed Punta Cana, what is now the most popular tourism destination in the wider Caribbean.
He will be joined by Vice President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association, Nicola Madden-Grieg; Executive Director of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, Professor Llyod Waller