Haiti – A Tourist Attraction?

Posted: January 20, 2010 in travel
Tags: ,

Who hasn’t heard about the Haiti earthquake disaster stories spread out all over the media? News about that magnitude of earthquake travels fast.

I found an article published through MSNBC posted on Twitter that asks the question, “Should cruise ships be taking tourists to Haiti?” After seeing this article, my first response was, “No, of course not.” I thought it was insensitive and thought only the travel industry would benefit.

However, when I looked at the argument and discovered that the industry is actually helping the Haitian people, I opened my mind. I’m not sure I completely changed my mind, but I can see a viewpoint I wouldn’t otherwise see if not for this article.

What do you think? Read the article and leave a comment if you want to be a part of this discussion. Does the article change your mind? You can also vote from the article to voice your opinion.

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Comments
  1. Judy says:

    Interesting reading wouldn’t that be nice to have a vacation destination with the tropical weather. Judy

  2. I read the article yesterday. My first thought, even before reading the article, was (and remains), “Absolutely they should go to Haiti”. I have been on a couple of cruises. I have spent a lot of time over the last 14 years in Honduras, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, after Haiti. I was there before and after Hurricane Mitch devasted the country. My reaction was based upon these experiences. My thoughts include:

    1. Cruise ships would not go there if it was not safe for their passengers. (I have had ports removed from an itinerary the day before a scheduled stop when the cruise line felt the waves were too high. This spring a friend’s cruise to Mexico was re-routed to completely eliminate Mexico because of the the H1N1 scare. Instead of the Mexican Riveria they went to San Francisco and Oregon.)
    2. Many people who live there are absolutely dependent on the income they earn from the cruise ships. Even 1-2 weeks without them will result in people going hungry in a country such as Haiti. Many people who were not directly affected by the earthquake will be adversely affected by stopping the cruise ships in a country that is scrambling to provide basic water, food and medicine for over two million people affected by the earthquake. Everything needs to be done to avoid adding to the number of people who need aid.
    3. This particular stop was almost 100 miles from the earthquake and did not sustain damage. There is no reason for the cruise lines to stop going there. They continue to go to the Domincan Republic, which is on the same island as Haiti and that does not seem to be controversial.
    4. If anything, more cruise ships should go to this location. The recovery effort in Haiti is going to last YEARS (if not decades) and everything that can be done to provide economic aid to her people should be encouraged and multiplied.
    5. As soon as is feasible, voluntourism should also be encouraged to Haiti. Wait for the immediate crisis to abate and have systems in place to meet the on-going needs of the affected people bfore this starts. Then people with construction skills, farming skills, education skills, business skills and many other skills will be needed to help in the recovery effort. This will help several ways: they will provide their expertise at no charge to the community they serve and will also spend money in the local econcomy buying food, supplies, souveniers, etc. This is a win-win! (Hopefully there can be lots of Christians who are part of this effort who also can share the Good News with the people they work with as well.)

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