Picture by Dominican Tourism Influencer @alejateconale
Decades of bad Public Relations affects Haiti to the point that, any mention of this country is automatically attached to the most impoverished nation in America or one of the poorest countries in the world. The lack of concern from some Haitian citizens, the Haitian Government and many from private sector place Haiti in a very delicate position as a country, and on the internet, especially on Google. Travelers and investors use the internet to decide the next place they want to visit or to invest in, but why should people invest in a country like Haiti? Can they in good conscience go there to have fun when the country image is so sad? The response is no. They will not invest, they will not travel there for Vacation until we change the narrative by improving the country’s image. Currently, we have more NGOs than businesses, and that’s why the country is so weak and so poor; nevertheless, this is only part of the truth.
Haiti is among the 4 safest countries in the Caribbean, you read it right. Regardless of decades of bad PR, warning from the US department or Canada, Pieces of evidence support the theory that Haiti is one of the safest places in the Americas. We can agree on the fact that once a country has been given a bad reputation, it is easy for people to accept anything negative they hear or read about it. It is important to point the facts that most of NGOs foreign workers are living there without any issues, circulating every day in the street of Haiti, either to go to work or to party. They occasionally have their family members and friends to visit. Many admit, while they see poverty in some places, they usually experience a different Haiti from what they typically see on TV. A group of young people from Curacao travel recently to Haiti; they admit that their family was terrified and they were advised to be extremely careful, but what they discovered during their experience in the country was different from what they were told. They decided to bring the truth back home and to the rest of the world. We also need to mention the growth of Dominican visitors, like never before young Dominicans are traveling to Haiti to experience the country in a different light and sharing their stories with other fellows Dominicains.
Mission trips and charity are not the right approaches to build a sustainable economy in any country in the world, and Haiti is not an exception. Several groups travel to Haiti every year to volunteer with a local orphanage or participate in the construction of a new school. They usually take with them goods that are already available on the domestic market. In many cases, they also bring their food, water and other things they can easily buy in Haiti. After a week or two, they return home feeling good about themselves. Some might do it with the great intention of supporting a family, however; what happens is they are slowly creating an environment of dependency, where many people are waiting for the next group to come, the next charity or mission trip. On the other hand, local businesspeople cannot hire locals because the good they are selling are given away for free. The construction workers who are qualified to do the job, cannot get employed because some missionaries are doing their job for free. Replace mission trip by local exploration. Instead of buying the goods we produce in Haiti, buy them from local businesses. Instead of doing construction work you are most of the time not qualified for, hire local construction workers. Instead of bringing your food for the week, buy from a local restaurant. Your direct investment will help boost the local economy, and more people you want to help will have a sustainable job to support themselves.
Haiti is one of the safest places in the Americas, with plenty of natural resources, potentials, and business opportunities. Haiti is a place, where you can also enjoy an authentic tourism product with great history. The country is known as the center of the Caribbean history. We are not saying everything is fine, or ignoring that the country has a lot of issues to deal with; however, we believe the world has the right to form their own opinion about it, based on real experience, and by knowing all the facts about this fantastic country.