Photo credit: Josue Azor

Years after a devastating earthquake decimated much of Haiti’s already fragile infrastructure, a small, vibrant institution in Port-au-Prince has emerged as a shining example of the country’s immense potential and is putting Haiti on the map as a worldwide tourist destination for Jazz music festivals.

Founded in 2007 by legendary singer and percussionist Joel Widmaier, The Haiti Jazz Foundation is a nonprofit organization that promotes music activities around the country, especially through their annual Port-au-Prince International Jazz Festival. The organization provides access to continuing professional music education to young talent throughout the country while fuelling the local economy and tourism sector. During the week-long festival series, free music workshops and empowerment seminars with guest musicians are offered to local Haitian artists. These educational workshops are a must for many struggling musicians in Haiti. Every year they take advantage of this program to learn from the best in jazz music.

Some of the past international musicians and celebrities who took part in the festival included American saxophonist Branford Marsalis, actor Jimmy Jean-Louis, Canadian Juno-Award Singer Molly Johnson, Grammy Award-winning Afro-Cuban jazz pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and much more.

Thanks to the Haiti Jazz Foundation, Haiti is rebranding its image as a tourism destination. The organizers of the festival partners with top travel agencies and premium hotel chains throughout the country to provide discounted travel accommodations and history touristic packages to visitors. Their initiative is to defuse and change the negative stereotypes about Haiti while remaining as a destination for Jazz music lovers.

The 12th edition of the festival will take place Jan. 20 to Jan. 27 in Port-au-Prince. Click here for more information

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