Haiti Hopes $160 M For High-end Tourism Pays Off
"Haiti is ready for tourism. Haiti is a tourism destination," said Tourism Minister Stephanie Villedrouin, a rare constant in the shakeup-prone Martelly administration. "If we want to be a sovereign country, if we don't want to depend on other countries, we need to figure out ourselves how to move forward and how to get revenue, and tourism must be number one on the list."
The government's projects include $13.2 million to build an airport and infrastructure on the southern island of Ile-a-Vache and another $8 million to develop the coastal town of Jacmel. Officials say these efforts will create more than 1,600 direct jobs and 6,500 indirect jobs. Tourism generated $200 million last year, Villedrouin said. This in a country whose annual budget is $1 billion.
Lest tourists fear Haiti unravels with unrest, the government is also building a force of 53 "tourism police officers" who will learn Spanish and English, first aid skills, customer service and work in the outposts where officials want to bring tourists. Funding comes from the Justice Ministry.
Other plans include making use of a little-known "investment code" that gives 15-year tax breaks to the owners of new hotels, many of whom are from the country's powerful and wealthy families. This law also allows hotel owners to ship supplies through customs without paying taxes.Haiti used to be the stomping grounds for the rich and famous in the 1970s and early 1980s as they came in search of late-night Voodoo ceremonies, rum-fueled revelry and Cold War-era conspiracy theories. Guests included Mick Jagger, Truman Capote and Jackie Onassis. But an AIDS scare in the early 1980s sent tourists to less exciting destinations. And the ouster of former dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" in 1986 spawned years of political upheaval as governments took turns toppling one another. The lone visitors became diplomats, peacekeepers, aid workers, missionaries and emigrants, all symbols of the country's problems.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV