WASHINGTON, May 21, 2014 - Nearly 35,000 residents from tourist localities in the North of Haiti will benefit from new infrastructure, economic opportunities and support to cultural events as a result of a US$ 45 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) approved today by the Board of Directors of the World Bank. The project aims at improving access, conservation and management of the World Heritage Site of the National Historic Park and the historic center of Cap Haitien; as well as establishing new destinations for travelers.
"Developing the North as a tourism destination in a sustainable way is part of the vision of the Ministry of Tourism. Improving the conservation of our natural and cultural heritage is essential to achieve this objective. I would like to highlight that one of the strengths of the project is that it involves the communities to preserve their heritage and benefit from the economic returns of tourism," said Stephanie Villedrouin, Minister of Tourism.
Northern Haiti has strong potential for regional development through tourism with its World Heritage sites and natural assets. The National Historic Park has attracted more than 30,000 visitors in 2013 and the tourist stopover of Labadie, where the ships of the Royal Caribbean Cruise are anchoring off the same coast where Christopher Columbus’ ship landed in 1492, represents a real potential for further tourism development in the region.
Ongoing government initiatives to renovate the Cap-Haitien International Airport and rehabilitate the highway from the capital Port-au-Prince to Cap-Haitien will allow better access of potential local and international visitors to the area.
"There is a growing demand to develop tourism in Haiti and the government is working effectively to promote the destination. This is the opportunity to develop the tourism industry which is labor intensive and will attract the private sector," said Mary Barton- Dock, World Bank Special Envoy to Haiti.
Among concrete results to be achieved by the Cultural heritage preservation and tourism sector support project are:
- Conservation of the Citadelle Henry, the Palace of Sans Souci, the Chapel of Sans Souci and Ramiers site in order to improve their resilience to seismic risk and tourism development.
- Urban renewal of the historical center of Cap-Haitien, targeting certain monuments and streets
- Attracting more than 16 000 visitors in the National Historical Park
- Supporting the creation of 370 small and medium entities providing cultural services and tourism
This six year project was developed with UNESCO which will provide technical assistance to the Institute for the Protection of National Heritage (ISPAN) for park management and the rehabilitation of buildings. To maximize results, the project will be coordinated by the Technical Implementation Unit of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, in collaboration with ISPAN, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Inter-ministerial Committee for Regional Planning (CIAT).