By Chef Ron Duprat
Like many who travel to Haiti, I immerse myself in the beauty of my country-sandy-crystal clear beaches, Rhum punches, grilled seafood platters and hearty legumes. Aside from the festivals and special events, Haiti is moving toward a bright future in tourism and gastronomy. Now more than ever, there is much to celebrate this year for Haitian Heritage month. From the anticipated partnership with Carnival Corporation (CCL), to the first ever all-inclusive resort Decameron. It seems like every year a hotel is developed with Hilton Worldwide (HLT) expecting to build a new Hilton Garden Inn at Louverture airport this year. As a chef, I am constantly traveling to Haiti on business and I am greatly pleased with the level of service and amenities available from newer hotels like the Marriott and Best Western to long-time favorite Wahoo Bay.
Other opportunities for economic growth lies with The Digicel Entrepreneur of the Year Program, which commenced in 2010. This concept was developed to help build new foundations for Haiti by identifying, rewarding and cultivating the new business leaders of the future. Entrepreneurs of all ages, men and women alike have emerged to compete for opportunities that rarely exists before. According to Digicel’s website, “to date over 400 entrepreneurs have been acclaimed through a rigorous process, competing against one another, learning from one another and bit by bit forging lasting friendships.”
Tourism reportedly accounts for about five percent of Haiti’s GDP, and those numbers are expected to change dramatically in the next few years. It is important to show the rest of the world that Haiti has incredible entrepreneurs and is ready for business. We must all play a part in encouraging future investments to anchor further development on the island. As we celebrate Haitian Heritage month, let us continue to move forward toward excellence to regain wealth and love for our country.
I leave you with a few of my favorite restaurants in Haiti:La Coquille, offers great and authentic Haitian food, The View gives you that U.S. fine dining experience and La Papaya is simply elegant. Experiencing Haiti means enjoying the beautiful beaches of Port Morgan and Île-à-Vache. Experiencing Haiti means enjoying comfortable accommodations at Moulin Sur Mere Cotes Des Arcardins and the new Kinam Hotel. Experiencing Haiti means tasting the lambi, and soup joumou and drinking Prestige and Barbancourt. Experiencing Haiti means enjoying the best it has to offer.