Embassy of Haiti hosts Cultural Evening at the ICD House of Arts and Culture
Haiti Cultural Evening on the occasion of the visit of Minister Stéphanie Balmir Villedrouin (Minister of Tourism and Creative Industries of Haiti)March 05th, 2015
On March 4th, 2015, on the first evening of the Berlin Economic Forum, the public gathered in the ICD House for Arts and Culture to enjoy a wonderful mix of Haitian culture, people and food. Thought provoking insights into the development of the tourist sector in Haiti, a country that suffered from natural disasters only a few years ago, combined with a colourful cultural experience yielded an exciting end to the first day of the Berlin Economic Forum.
The Minister for Tourism and Creative Industries Haiti, the Chargé d'Affaires, Embassy of Haiti to Germany, renowned singer Rachelle Jeanty was all in attendance. Further, the ICD House of Arts and Culture were filled representatives from the Berlin diplomatic community, public and private sector, as well as representatives from the fields of politics, academics and arts.
The Embassy of Haiti to Germany, Patrick Saint Hilaire, opened the evening by welcoming the audience and provided the attendants with an insight in the challenges and opportunities that Haiti faces in the current context. He stressed the importance of the tourist sector to the economy in Haiti, and welcomed everyone to visit Haiti, as tourists and investors.
Following the Embassy’s welcome address, Minister Stéphanie Balmir Villedrouin gave an in-depth and thoughtful presentation on the development of Haiti’s tourist industry. The youngest member of the presidential cabinet, Stéphanie Balmir Villedrouin has been the driving force behind revamping Haiti’s tourism sector. The minister stressed that the point of the Haiti Cultural Evening was to convince the public to come visit Haiti, and she sure did a good job in doing so!
Starting by presenting what has been done so far in the tourism sector, the minister pointed out that the development of basic infrastructure has been a crucial step when rebuilding and enhancing the tourist sector after the earthquake in 2010. Collaboration between the public and private sector has enabled a fruitful development. For example, the government is determined to make sure that tourists feel safe and welcome, and have therefore funded a special training for police forces that is focused on tourists and can help them serve as guides to visitors. The private sector has also played a big role in the development of the tourist sector in Haiti and enormous investments have been made in the infrastructure of new hotels, concentrated in the capital business area as well as in beach destinations.
Finally, the Minister presented the “masterplan” for future tourism in Haiti, based on the “PPP”- public and private partnership- principle. By including local communities, the plan is to work for a lucrative and sustainable tourism. Overall, the development of Hiati’s tourism sector can be seen as a success story, considering the large increase in visitors during the 3 past years. The Minister’s inspiring presentation made it clear that with a new airport, hotels, and some of the world’s best beaches, Haiti is welcoming and open to everyone.
To get a taste of Haiti’s cultural treasures, the rest of the evening was filled with music and food. Singer and songwriter Rachelle Jeanty amazed the public with her authentic and magnetic energy. After a stirring concert by Rachelle Jeanty, guests were treated to a dinner highlighting the best of Haitian food and drink. Décor was provided from several Haitian artists. Overall the evening was a brilliant showcase of all the cultural, gastronomic and artistic gems Haiti has to offer.