For thirty years, the Caribbean economy has been mainly based on tourism. According to some estimates, tourism accounts for 70% of the economic activities of some countries in the region, such as Dominica or the Bahamas. In 2017, the Caribbean received nearly 30 million tourists; they spent over us $37 billion. Haiti, after experiencing some difficulties in the sector, has been trying to reposition itself as a tourists destination in the Caribbean for the last five years. Moreover, in an effort that pays off In 2017, Haiti welcomed over 700,000 cruise passengers and a total 450,000 ground tourists. Tourism activity accounts for 9.9% of the national GDP from export revenue. However, Haiti tourism potential has yet to be explored, a move that can easily place the country among the leading destinations in the Caribbean and also create more economic opportunities for the Haitian population.
As more people from the private sector especially the tourism sector become more aware that Haiti, thanks to its cultural and natural resources can benefit from the global tourism industry. Haiti Tourism Inc with other leading tourism organizations has launched the first platform of discussion (Tourism Innovation Summit). The Platform will facilitate exchanges of ideas and resources that spur interest; inspire collaboration, and attract strategic investments in the Haitian tourism sector for its sustainable growth for the next 15 years. Organizing partners such as DAGMAR, Faces of Haiti, Association Touristique d’Hati, and OGDNH with the support of the Minister of Tourism, CFI and the US Embassy join forces to organize this niche market event that offers participants an opportunity to be at the cusp of new developments in Haiti’s tourism sector. Held in the Northern department of Haiti, the concept design, experience, and energy will be leveraged to nurture creative and technology-driven ideas.
With the principal objective of positioning tourism as a driving force for Haiti economic growth and wealth creation in a perspective of continuous innovation; the organizers also want to address the challenges of the Haitian tourism sector. “We are very optimistic about Haiti becoming a platform (HUB) to connect Caribbean industry leaders and a tourist destination in the region. We need to capitalize on the achievements of the last five years” said Davidson Toussaint, the founder of Haiti Tourism Inc.
During this three-day summit, a set of themes related to capacity building, smart cities, and innovation in the tourism sector will be explored with several presentations on tourism policies in the Caribbean; the use of ICTs in the development of tourism enterprises among others. The focus will also be on the North in the perspective of the 350 years of the foundation of the city of Cap Haitien in particular.