Summit focuses on Haiti tourism

A panel of leaders in travel marketing from the Caribbean will be one of the highlights of the “Second Annual Haiti Tourism & Economic Development Summit” from June 23 to June 25 focusing on rebuilding and developing the country’s tourism industry.Haitian President Rene Preval will speak on the last day of the conference, taking place at the Deauville Beach Resort Hotel in Miami Beach (6701 Collins Ave).

The Summit will bring together key players in the local and international tourism industry, including the Haitian and foreign private sector, the public sector, and representatives of international financial (donor/investment) organizations.

Marketing panelists include Karen Weiner Escalera, KWE group, Miami, known for the firm’s work for Mexico City and Cartagena, Colombia; Dwight Johnson, Sandals Resorts; Maryse Chancy, Association Touristique d’Haiti; Hugh Riley, Caribbean Tourism Organization; Lionel Pressoir, Tour Haiti and Guide Panorama; and Frank Nocera, Visit Florida. The Summit is being organized by MWM & Associates, a Miami-based marketing firm. Registration fees range from $100 to $200 per person.

Special emphasis will be placed on innovative marketing tools and strategies that will contribute to the increased awareness of Haiti as a tourism destination and build the economy. Other topics to be addressed include: infrastructure needs for the development of tourism activities nationally; the role of the Haitian Diaspora in the marketing and consumption of Haitian tourism products; financing and investment issues; community development opportunities; and security issues affecting tourism.

Last year’s event hosted over 500 professionals. Summit results have included monthly Getaway groups to Haiti; U.S. and Canada city-by-city tourism forums; feasibility studies conducted by potential hotel chains; and technical assistance planned by FAVACA (The Association of Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and Americas). This year over 800 participants are expected to attend.