(PRWEB) February 28, 2013
Although tourism in Haiti has seen a tremendous decline due to weather disasters, weakened infrastructure and governmental instability, the island's Carnival Festival this February offered a great opportunity for tourism to improve. The Carnival event was expected to draw thousands of tourists from all over the world. Cap Haitien and Port-au-Prince offered the majority of the festivities associated with this event, with some expected inconveniences such as increased traffic, road closures due to “Ra-Ra” bands playing in the streets and large congregations of local and visiting participants.
The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs issued a travel advisory in December, 2012, regarding the island of Haiti, which affirms continuing problems with cholera, availability of adequate medical care and limited assistance by local authorities. However, the U.S. State Department further states that thousands of Americans visit Haiti and experience little to no problems during their vacation. The advisory primarily concerns people who are handicapped or suffer from a condition that may require immediate medical assistance, as the ability of the Haitian government to accommodate individuals already under a physician's care is currently limited.
For tourists planning to visit Haiti, it is recommended to sign up with the U.S. Embassy's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This program provides the latest information via text message or email regarding security issues emerging from Haiti. In addition, U.S. Citizens can also access up-to-date information by following the U.S. Embassy on Facebook and Twitter.
Several recommendations were issued by the U.S. Embassy for tourists during the Haitian Carnival festival. These include staying away from large crowds, avoiding confrontation with demonstrators by departing the area as quietly and quickly as possible and remaining cognizant of any kind of political activity scheduled to occur in Haiti. However, the Haitian government is continuously pursuing a dynamic and aggressive movement to revive the tourist industry in a country that once thrived on tourism.
Haiti's minister of tourism Stephanie Villedrouin says that the island still possesses the natural qualities that makes it a warm, beautiful and exotic vacation spot for tourists looking for a different kind of Caribbean vacation. According an NPR (National Public Radio) article, Villedrouin states that revenues coming from tourism will help reduce poverty and provide earthquake victims with real homes instead of the tents in which they remain. She wants people to visit Haiti instead of making monetary contributions through an NGO or other charitable network.
For tourists who are victims of a crime, have had their passport stolen or need emergency medical assistance while in Haiti, Caribbean Vacations.net strongly urges visitors contact the U.S. Embassy and the local police department immediately. Although Haitian law enforcement is entirely responsible investigations surrounding any reported criminal activity, consular representatives can provide tourists with information necessary to understanding how the Haitian criminal justice system operates. Visitors should also be aware that traveling in Haiti requires conformity to the laws of the island. Breaking Haitian laws are subject the consequences enforced under Haiti's legal system.