UNWTO and regional partners talk of rebuilding tourism in Haiti


The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) will be working with regional tourism partners to rebuild the industry in Haiti, which was devastated by a magnitude-7.0 earthquake on January 12.

Jamaica will be the coordinating point for the project. The UNWTO regional representative for the Americas, Carlos Vogeler, as well as Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett spoke to the need to assist with the reconstruction of the hospitality industry in Haiti, where more than 200,000 were killed and millions left homeless.

Bartlett said a meeting is to be held today to determine the “best approach” to helping Haiti, which relies heavily on tourism for its economic growth.

Today’s meeting will include representatives from the UNWTO, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, and Caribbean Tourism Organization, as well as the minister of tourism from the Bahamas.

“We will be meeting to discuss the approach for economic reconstruction of Haiti, because we are of the view that tourism can energize a quicker recovery process,” Bartlett said.

The Jamaican tourism minister said there would also be a meeting with his Haitian counterpart, Patrick Delatour, to formulate the project.

The Montego Bay tourism seminar, meanwhile, has pulled scores of industry players together to look at the future of tourism, which is projected to grow between three and four percent internationally this year. That would reverse last year’s four percent decline.

Director of tourism John Lynch said Jamaica’s ability to experience growth in its tourism sector, despite the recession, was as a result of the strong partnership with industry players who have contributed to what he described as “our best January ever.”