Haiti's cuisine, music, history, deep and rich culture and of course its breathtaking coastlines have attracted visitors from all over the world. In fact, Haiti led the touristic industry in the Caribbean during the mid 1900's, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Americas. The island described by prominent magazines and travel agencies as the "Tropical Idle" and "Pearl of the Antilles" was the place to see and be seen; it attracted the rich and the famous. Over 15.000 tourists visited the shores of Haiti every month. 302.000 tourists from all over the world visited Haiti in the summer of 1970 (139.000 by air, 163.000 by sea.) Mainly from the United States, but notably from also Canada, France, Germany and Spain. The suburbs of Petion-Ville and the city of Jacmel accounted for over half of them. Bill and Hillary Clinton honeymooned in Haiti, famous writers, actors, and even US politicians vacationed in the "Magical Island" which Haiti was marketed as. The bays of Port-au-Prince and Jacmel were always full of private boats and yachts.
Unfortunately, the widespread corruptions and brutal dictatorships of the Duvaliers' started to isolate Haiti from the Caribbean map; the Dominican Republic which shares the Island of Hispaniola with Haiti, saw Its annual tourist visits quadruple in the meantime. After the fall of Jean Claude Duvalier, one corrupt government after another succeeded; civil and political unrest became way too common, the level of disparity between the rich and the poor became more and more apparent; Haiti as a tourist destination became obsolete as a result.
Having become the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most dangerous places in the region after the fall of Jean Claude Duvalier, Haiti as a tourist attraction was stigmatized even further. The few people who took the chance to visit where mainly aid workers of non profit organisations. And, the deadly earthquake of January 12th, 2010 which resulted in the death of over 200.000 people and a nearly equal number of injured, made Haiti the pity and envy of every non profits trying to truly help out or make a quick buck. It became clearer than ever that Haiti as a tourist destination was wishful thinking. But as Haiti's history have shown, the spirit of this indomitable nation would prove everyone doubting her capacity wrong.
Many amazing initiatives had been adopted by the Ministry of Tourism to change people's perspective about Haiti. Haiti was portrayed for exactly what it was; a surprising adventure that you had to experience. Haiti's culture, African traditions, music, culinary and art; her tragic, but unrivaled heroic history; her mountains that scrape the sky, her sacred Vodou drums that fills the quiet nights, make it a place which despite all its challenges offers an experience that you will seek in vain in other parts of the world since it is so stubbornly unique.
After many studies released by prominent institutions ranking Haiti as one of the top safest countries in the Americas, interest in this small island nation has been growing steadily, the country saw its annual tourist visits double and numerous respected hotel brand has been popping up everywhere, including Marriott, Best Western, Royal Oasis, Carnival Cruise to name only these; Many respected travel agencies found it wise to start recommending Haiti as a tourist hotspot; the government has undertaken the construction and reparations of many international airports to accommodate the influx of visitors; the Ministry of Tourism has been active more than ever in promoting Haiti at every international travel events.
The only thing left is for you brave traveler to come discover the long lost Pearl of the Antilles, we'll be waiting here for you wonderful comments