A little over a month ago I was in London at an adventure tourism promotion event at the Haitian embassy in London. I was rather touched to be called up to be presented with an ‘award’ for services to Haitian tourism by the Minister for Tourism Stephanie Villedrouin. But I was even more pleased to see so many tour operators present, many of whom have started to sell trips to the country. While I was writing the book, there was a regular stream of articles in the mainstream press about how Haiti was going to be the next big thing in tourism, but these only ever appeared in the business pages, rather than the travel sections of the papers. At last, the green shoots of an industry that appeared to have died a death some time in the mid-1980s finally seem to be putting in an appearance.
Here are three articles about Haiti I’ve been asked to write recently. The first is for Lonely Planet, about how travellers can experience Vodou:
Just saying the word ‘vodou’ brings forth a tumble of clichés, from the comedy witch doctors of the Bond movie Live and Let Die to Hollywood’s endlessly shuffling fascination with zombies. Lurid fears have been stoked about these religions since the time when Haiti’s slaves had the temerity to free themselves from Napoleon’s rule and set up the world’s first black republic two centuries ago, with propagandists and pulp novelists dining out on stories of cannibalism and possession by jungle drums ever after.
You can read the full article here.
The other two articles are for G Adventures, who have a new tour to Haiti. The first tackles Haiti’s greatest sight, the magnificent Citadelle:
How many times have tourist boards sold a half-baked destination as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World?’ Sometimes however, the real deal is tucked away in some long-forgotten corner, waiting for discovery. As Haiti makes tentative steps to reintroduce itself to the travel market, it carries a pretty impressive trump card in the shape of the magnificent Citadelle le Ferrière.
The complete piece can be found here. The second piece is about the delights of Jacmel on the south coast:
Of all the countries in the Caribbean, Haiti has perhaps the richest visual arts tradition. Even the local buses (known as taptaps) are often pimped and decorated to the point where they resemble art galleries on wheels. But nowhere in the country is the artistic tradition than in Jacmel, a few hours’ drive south over the mountains from Port-au-Prince.
Read the full Jacmel piece here.