With the launch of the “Destino Île à Vache” project, the Ministere du Tourisme Haiti has announced a compelling initiative to bolster tourism development in this region, located southwest of Les Cayes.
Under the slogan “one of the last true treasure islands in the Caribbean”, this tourist development campaign was officially announced in 2013 and aims to transform Île à Vache into a first class international destination, a key component of integrating the tourism industry into the nation’s sustainable economic growth strategy.
Even in the midst of vicissitudes Haiti is a country that, for its great variety of mixed natural and cultural heritage has a great potential for the development of leisure and vacation travel markets.
The Haitian government has invested around US$ 18.5 million in the construction of roads and other infrastructures to facilitate access and attract investors to Île à Vache. This figure includes the expansion of Antoine-Simon airport in Les Cayes in preparation for the new influx of passengers.
According to its Tourism Ministry, the destination will focus on capturing the North American market in its initial phase.
Statistics demonstrate that this segment of the market is currently taking 50% of their vacation time and prefer to consume tourism experiences taking shorter vacations that are closer to home.
Given its proximity to the United States, Haiti is a solid competitor in this respect.
Stephanie B. Villedrouin, Haiti’s current Tourism Minister, has started a vigorous promotional and rehabilitation campaign of the country’s main destinations (which includes the exploitation of Île à Vache), that have allowed the government entity to establish agreements with other nations throughout the region in order to attract foreign investment.
Proposals include the construction of 1,500 to 2,000 luxury eco villas (hotel and residential), golf courses, an international airport, an aqueduct and several resorts encircled in a 52 sq. kilometer territory that has a population of 15,00o inhabitants.
“Île à Vache is one of the last true treasure islands in the Caribbean. Tourism has progressed slowly in a sustainable way, with the construction of tourist facilities that contributes to nearby communities.”, these words express the confidence of Haitian authorities in implementing this proposed plan.
The initiative stipulates low-density, leisure eco-friendly-style tourism development focused on such areas as cultural heritage and rural tourism.
Its agrotourism component contemplates the creation of a communal farm managed by local residents which would allow visitors to participate in farmwork.
Villedrouin has assured that this unspoiled cove will be developed in harmony with its natural habitat, preserving its cultural identity, its ecosystems and biodiversity and will integrate the populace to its tourist activities.
Besides promotion agricultural tourism, the destination seeks to promote adventure, romance and wellness tourism.
In support of the efforts set forth by the government to look into tourism as a national economic stimulus strategy and, foreseeing the opening of first-class hotels, the island nation has seen the implementation of its first Training Institute in Tourism and the modernization and creation of tourism companies, as is the case of its new airline, Sunrise Airways.
Definitely, the time to invest in Haiti’s tourism infrastructure has come. We salute its authorities for such a laudable initiative.
If you wish to get to know Île à Vache in images, you may do so by visiting http://on.fb.me/1noTxvk.