Diaspora Tourism: An untapped opportunity for Haiti

Diasporas can help open markets for new tourist destinations in their countries of heritage.  As diaspora tourists travel to less-frequented regions to connect with friends and family or participate in various cultural events, they will promote the creation of new attractions, and general services for tourists outside of the major cities.

Over the past years, the Tourism concept has greatly evolved from an activity solely reserved for the elite and the most fortunate; it has become a significant social and economic phenomenon in today’s world.

Today’s travelers have a different profile and show diverse interests and needs, regarding what motivates them to get on a plane and visit a destination. More recently, creative tourism has gained popularity as a form of cultural tourism, drawing on active participation by travelers in the culture of the host communities they visit.

Diaspora Tourism:

Diaspora tourism comes in many shapes and forms, including family visits, heritage or “roots” tourism, etc. But regardless of the purpose of their travels, diaspora members are more likely to infuse money into the local economy when traveling to their country of heritage than most international tourists.

Diasporas can help open markets for new tourist destinations in their countries of heritage.  As diaspora tourists travel to less-frequented regions to connect with friends and family or participate in various cultural events, they will promote the creation of new attractions, and general services for tourists outside of the major cities. The same diaspora-tourists might later choose to invest in local businesses in the region after making connections on their visits. They will likely become natural ambassadors for the discovered destinations, influence others to visit through social media, word of mouth and may later become more involved with local community projects.

The role of the Haitian government:

Haitian diaspora is roughly estimated to be almost 2 million people sending over US$ 2 billion yearly in remittances to Haiti, according to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); which represents the equivalent of more than a half of Haiti’s gross national product.

The Ministry of Tourism, along with the Ministry of Haitians living abroad, could develop a joint plan, to attract and motivate the Haitian diaspora to visit their beloved country so that they can establish an emotional connection with it.

Among the many ways and means of capitalizing on that potential opportunity, we suggest the following to the Haitian government, to develop Diaspora Tourism:

–        Offering educational and cultural exchange programs to the Haitian diaspora

–        Developing a campaign targeting the middle-class of Haitian living abroad

–        Working with airlines, hotels, airports authorities, to make entries to Haiti easier and less expensive.

That would make the Haitian diaspora more eager to rediscover and reconnect with their country of birth, and would ultimately result in an increase in revenue for the Haitian economy overall and a growth of the tourism sector in Haiti.

 

Carlo Chancelien

Le Jetsetter

About the Author

Leave a Reply

*