TIS 2020, a Successful Edition in a Context Strewn With Challenges

TIS 2020, a Successful Edition in a Context Strewn With Challenges

Pascale Balmir, CEO of Explore Caribbean

For its second edition, the Tourism Innovation Summit in Haiti has met public expectations. In a context marked by the COVID-19 pandemic where a plethora of major national and international events was organized virtually or even postponed, the Tourism Innovation Summit was an exception to this rule.

This edition was held around the theme: “Stronger Cities, Stronger Citizens: Shared Responsibilities.” A theme that comes at the right time when we consider that this year is doubly significant for the city of Cap-Haitien. This city celebrates the 350th years of its foundation and commemorates the bicentenary of the death of King Henri Christophe. It is an encompassing theme and enriching insofar as we live in a universe where life in autarky is a utopia.

Indeed, it was the Minister of Tourism and Creative Industries, Madame Myriam Jean, who opened the summit on the evening of October 30th. In her remarks for the occasion, the Minister congratulated the organizers of this event and emphasized the country’s wealth in the tourism sector, which deserves to be protected and valued by all Haitians.

On October 31st, the Hôtellerie du Roi Henry Christophe, the event venue, saw handpicked participants and speakers pouring out of the crowd and from here and elsewhere to discuss this theme. With subjects more interesting than the others. Topics revolving around the economy, education, sport, health, and technology were fiercely debated. Monica Aksamit, a bronze medalist at the Rio 2016 Olympics and a graduate of Penn State University who spoke during the day emphasized valuing and playing sports because sportspeople can improve their health, and health promotes tourism development. The day ended with a sumptuous cocktail at Cormier Beach Resort.

The morning of Sunday, November 1st was the turn for professionals from the sector to intervene. Madame Raina Forbin, President of ATH (Association of Tourism in Haiti), provided an overview of the sector before and during Covid-19. According to her accounts, the hotel occupancy rate was less than 10% during the pandemic, while this rate was over 50% before the pandemic. However, some increase is being seen since the past two months, she said. Asking her about what is being done for the sector, she said, among other things, efforts are being combined to rehabilitate the chapel of Milot.

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