Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has said that a strategy is being developed for the economic recovery of earthquake-hit Haiti, which will use elements of Jamaica’s Tourism Master Plan.
This strategy, called the Montego Bay Initiative, will position tourism as a main pillar for the economic development of Haiti.
“The model which is being used, is really a model that draws heavily on the Jamaica Tourism Master Plan and, therefore, it makes it very easy for us to respond and to work well with it,” the Minister told a press conference at Jamaica House, Thursday (February 25).
The Tourism Minister noted that it was at the Tourism Outlook Seminar in Montego Bay on February 2, that he and the United Nations World Trade Organization (UNWTO) Regional Director, Carlos Vogeler, mooted the idea of a position from the Caribbean tourism fraternity on Haiti.
They also discussed steps that could be taken to work with Haiti in enabling a restoration, and an economic recovery programme that would see tourism as a critical component.
Mr. Bartlett said that Haiti has already identified tourism as one of the three pillars on which its economic restoration programme would be predicated. The others are agriculture and light manufacturing industries.
He said that the Haitian Tourism Authority has already created a master plan for the development of their industry, and the conclusion was that it should be adopted as the template to present to the UNWTO on March10, in Berlin.
He said that the plan would be further developed and used by the UNWTO to create the awareness of the global community to the Haitian reality, and would also inform the mobilisation efforts of the UNWTO to get the resources required to re-build the Haitian economy on the basis of tourism as a centrepiece of its activities.
“The programme will see a fusion of efforts between ourselves and, ofcourse, the wider CARICOM initiative and …all of what is going to be done will be dovetailed, carefully, into the overall CARICOM initiative,” the Minister added.
Former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson, said CARICOM has been looking at ways in which it could be supportive of the development of Haiti’s recovery, and has also identified tourism as one of the planks.
He said that tourism is an obvious element for development, as it capitalises on the natural resources with which Haiti has been abundantly blessed.
“Haiti is part of the Caribbean region and, therefore, the development of Haiti offers scope for inter-linkages with the tourism sector in other adjacent countries in the Caribbean, particularly Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos islands, the Bahamas and Cuba, which are the most proximate to the portions of Haiti where tourism shows the greatest potential for growth,” Mr. Patterson said.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Bartlett, along with Mr. Patterson and other key stakeholders, met with the Minister of Tourism for Haiti, Patrick Delatour, to continue discussions on the Montego Bay Initiative, which came out of the Tourism Outlook Seminar.