Typically when you hear the words “spring break,” images of college-age men and women on white sandy beaches in the Caribbean engulf your mind. In the past, those looking for that beach get away in the sun have not considered Haiti as a viable destination for their spring break leisure needs.
A considerable amount of people are hesitant to travel to Haiti, said Martine Stephenson, marketing director of Perle Hospitality, which provides access to lodging, exclusive memberships, trip advisors, and 24/7 concierge phone assistance in Haiti.
“Haiti has its fair share of negative press that really kills tourism,” she said. “We want to break down those negative barriers and allow people to see they can come to Haiti and be safe.”
Perle Hospitality provides visitors with a network of guest houses with property located in popular locations such as, Cap-Haiten, Jacmel and Pettionville.
“What we’re doing is complimenting what the minister of tourism is doing, which is promoting travel to Haiti,” Stephenson said. “The way we’re doing it is by providing a network of locations throughout Haiti and making it a convenient, comfortable and safe environment for travelers.”
In December 2012, the U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning against visiting Haiti due to the “level of crime, the presence of cholera, lack of adequate infrastructure …seasonal severe inclement weather, and limited police protection.”
The U.S. State Department’s advisory against Haiti “does not take into account significant improvements” in the country’s fight against crime, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said in a statement. “Haiti’s crime rate is among the lowest in the Americas.”
Perle Hospitality facilitates travel to Haiti from the U.S. In addition to accommodations, airport pick up and concierge service, Peale Hospitality offers tour packages to their guests.
“We want our guests to experience Haiti, and not just stay at a resort,” Stephenson said. Perle Hospitality guests have access to culinary tours, where visitors can sample local cuisine and fruits; as well as, shopping packages where tourists can shop for local art and crafts.
We’re really rich in our culture, Stephenson said, because of that we want our guests to have the opportunity to visit historical sites in Haiti also. The hospitality service provides guests with tour guides to various landmarks in Haiti like the Citadelle and Bassin Bleu.
Haiti is gaining attention as a vacation destination in the Caribbean. According to a report by the Haitian Minister of Tourism office, the country has seen about a 6 percent increase in tourism in 2012.
We want people to be open minded to travelling to Haiti, Stephenson said. We have a lot of beauty to share.
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