Haitian Government Expands Agreement with Royal Carribean

By Bryan Schaaf on Monday, February 18, 2008.

For Peace Corps Volunteers living on the Central Plateau, Cap Haitian was a nice city to spend a long weekend in.  Sure, the road was unbelievably rough, but there are nice hotels, restaurants, and beaches. Of those beaches, Labadee is one of the nicest and is basically set aside for Royal Carribean.   According to the Miami Herald, Royal Carribean and the Haitian Government recently inked a deal to expand the cruise line's operations in Haiti significantly.


I was amazed the first time I saw a Royal Carribean cruise boat pull into the bay.  Before long, the utterly quiet beach was full of tourists with jet skis, sun bathers, etc.  There are of course merchants selling artwork and I understand that there is now an incredibly long zip line.


Next year, Royal Carribean launches the Genesis which will be the largest cruise ship in the world and its coming to Labadee.  It will dock at an 800 foot, 27 million dollar pier (to be constructed).  As part of the deal, Royal Carribean will maintain its lease on the +250 acres of land until 2060.




In the article, Craig Milan who heads Royal Celebrity Tours and arranges land based excursions, expresses his approval for the new deal.  His hope is that the agreement will show the international community that this government is serious about reviving tourism and can work with large corporations in a constructive manner.  Employment of the local community is significant - 300 are formally employed but many others earn a living informally by selling arts and crafts, etc.



Haiti Tourism Minister Patrick Delatour also expressed his support for the deal and notes that the government hopes to build a new airport for Cap Haitian and new roads that would connect the city to the Dominican Republic.  We are big supporters of dveloping Haiti's secondary cities such as Cap Haitian, and an expanded airport would go a long way to that end, but may we suggest a good road fromo Port au Prince to Cap Haitian?



rcI read the comments associated with the article.  Some felt that Royal Carribean are exploiting the Haitian labor force.   I disagree with this one.  Royal Carribean is one of the largest (formal and legal) employers in the North.   Haiti remains the only country in the Carribean with untapped tourism potential apart form the diplomats, missionaries, and peace keepers referenced in the article.   It is not the role of a corporation to build the infrastructure of the country - that is for the government.  But Royal Carribean is providing jobs in a country where they are scarce indeed. 



I should also note that Royal Carribean is supportive of different non governmental organizations operating in Haiti.  They have a long track record of working with Project Medishare for example.   My primary complaint concerning Royal Carribean is that they do not tell the tourists they are going to Haiti - they say that they will be visiting "a private beach on the lovely island of Hispaniola".  While that is true, it is disingenous.  Its not much of a partnership, if you cant even say to your clients who you are parterning with.  Let's change that.



Having lived in Jacmel for years, Matt is likey to disagree with me - but I think Cap Haitian has the most to offer as a tourist destination - the beautiful Citadel, stunning beaches, an airport ready for expansion that will (we hope) allow tourists to buypass Port au Prince, an unspoiled and forested coastline, and a network of artists and craftsmen.  



These resources will need to be managed better - drive up to the Citadel and you will see what I mean.  Vehicles have a tendency to be mobbed by dozens of "guides."  Issues such as this are easy enough to address with proper management.  The road to Labadee is still rough - but it is not long, perhaps a mile, and could be fixed.  It would be a good step.



Will Haiti ever be a major tourist country again?  Probably not, but the potential for the sector to grow significantly - if not countrywide, than certainly in the North and perhaps in the South around the Jacmel area as well.


Welcome your thoughts.



Labadee to Benefit from Cruise Passenger Fees (8/20/2014)

By Joseph Guyler Delva
Haiti's prime minister, Laurent Lamothe, announced on Monday that an agreement has been reached between the Haitian government and the Royal Caribbean Cruise lines to add two dollars on the fee paid by each tourist visiting the northern Labadie seaside resort to fund social projects benefiting the local community. Lamothe said the additional fee will help fund social and economic projects in the benefit of the local population living in the Labadie (also Labadee) village, outside the Caribbean country's second largest city, Cap-Haitien, in the northern region. Lamothe said he has met with Royal Caribbean's CEO, Adam Goldstein, and they have concluded that the company will pay US$12 per visitor instead of the US$10 paid so far. The agreement will take effect in March 2015. "We will invest the money in improving the Village environment, in building schools and health centers for the Labadie village population," Lamothe told the Haitian-Caribbean News Network (HCNN). "We want to make sure the local population can directly benefit from the big cruise ships they see coming to their village," explained Lamothe.
About 600,000 cruise passengers visited the Labadie site in 2013. The Haitian prime minister said he urged Royal Caribbean to also invite cruise passengers to visit a number of tourist sites in surrounding areas, such as the Sans Souci Palace at Milot, and the Citadelle, a UNESCO world heritage fortress built nearly two centuries ago, near Cap-Haitien. Haitian authorities also announced a series of measures to increase security and set up or repair basic infrastructure in targeted areas to facilitate the excursion which will be offered to visitors.

I went in Haiti last month at Labadee

I went in Haiti last month I drove by Labadie , and I was very disappointed to find out that the Haitians did not have access to Labadie anymore.I am living in the states for about 11 years and is now a Us citizen. I remember that as a chid and teenage girl as I used to go to the beach at labadie on week-ends and the only time we did not have access were when the royal caribean tourists were in. Now it is completly different.They keep the Haitians out at all time.I can afford a cruise with the royal caribean but I am so upset that Haitians are kept out of Labadie that I am not interested in going there by cruise. By the way , I don't the Haitians specially people fron Cap -Haitien benefit much from that deal with the RC.

Port Could Receive a Cruise Ship (AP - 2/20/2012)

By Ramon Espinosa
Haiti's Minister of the Interior, Thierry Mayard-Paul, is hoping for a cruise milestone, the first ship to call at Port-au-Prince in a quarter century. Mayard-Paul met last week with officials of a Christian missionary group, Praisefest Ministries, pushing for the group's Cruise with a Cause to bring volunteers to the Haitian capital in 2013. Port-au-Prince is still recovering from a devastating January 2010 earthquake. Cruise with a Cause has done other missions combining tourism and volunteer work to places including Jamaica. "Haiti is at a turning point as a nation," Maynard-Paul told church leaders attending a Praisefest retreat in Alabama, according to a press release. He added a cruise ship visit would help in "breathing new life" into Haiti's tourism sector. Praisefest officials said they are looking to visit Haiti on a 4,000-passenger ship in 2013, but did not name the ship nor announce the dates. On the Cruise with a Cause website, Praisefest indicates the Bill Clinton Foundation also is involved in the discussion. Praisefest's spring 2011 Cruise with a Cause to Jamaica was on the 2,642-passenger Carnival Destiny. Maynard-Paul said passengers on the cruise to Port-au-Prince would participate in projects that include building homes, repairing schools and installing water purification systems. "When you sail into Port-au-Prince, my friends, you will be making history," the minister told the Praisefest gathering. Maynard-Paul said the government of Haiti had made the project a priority and is working to evaluate and prepare the port in the capital city for a cruise ship's arrival

Cruise Lines Upgrade Private Island Retreats (6/29/2010)

ABC News
By Christine Beck
Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Lines, Holland America and Norwegian Cruise Lines are in various stages of improving their private island retreats -- from just starting to already finished. New additions range from private cabanas to exhilarating rides and water play areas, as well as expanded beach areas. Whether the island renovations are being made to accommodate big new ships or add unique ways to explore, the changes will give first timers and repeat cruisers a new and improved taste of island life -- and a reason to return on a future cruise. Here's what you can expect to find on upcoming private island calls:
Royal Caribbean's Labadee
Best New Addition: Until now, Disney's Castaway Cay was the only private island where ships could dock, with all other cruise line islands requiring tender service. Not anymore. Labadee's new pier was recently completed and is large enough to accommodate Royal Caribbean's new behemoth ship, Oasis of the Seas. It's a good thing, too, as it could have taken a while to tender the ship's 5,400 passengers from ship to shore.
Added Island Improvements: In addition to the new pier, Labadee has a new welcome plaza, which serves as the starting point for water taxis. It also offers new sea-based shore tours and five walking paths that lead to special areas throughout the peninsula. Some of these areas include the new Dragon's Plaza, home to the Dragon's Breath Flight Line (the world's longest zip line over water) and Labadee Town Square, which features the Haitian Cultural Museum, Cafe Labadee and Bar, an artisan market and the boarding area for the new Alpine Coaster (a mountainside thrill ride, somewhat like a rollercoaster).
Cabana Bonanza: Cabanas are being added to ship decks and private islands like HDTV is to family rooms. The new Barefoot Beach Club, available exclusively to Royal Caribbean's suite guests, offers 20 private cabanas for rent along the water's edge and within the hillside areas. Each cabana includes upgraded food and beverage offerings like lobster and steak. In addition, the spa facilities at Barefoot Beach have been revamped to include yoga classes.
Old Favorites: You can still bounce on water trampolines and inflatable iceberg-shaped slides at Columbus Cove Aqua Park ($15 for 50 minutes). Or, for a more sedentary pursuit, watch African-style dancing and drumming at the folkloric show. Two Haitian marketplaces sell local crafts, paintings, coffee, woodcarvings, baskets and more. Luc's Splash Bash is the island's dedicated area for kids, featuring ground geysers, water cannons and a treasure map trail.
Renovation Status: Labadee's renovations were completed in October 2009. The port escaped damage during Haiti's 7.0-magnitude earthquake in January 2010, as it's located some 100 miles from Port-au-Prince and the quake's epicenter.

Will Royal Caribbean expand its offerings in Haiti? (4/13/2010)

USA Today
By Gene Sloan
Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Adam Goldstein waxes poetic on his blog about a Haitian historic site that may be worth cruise passengers' exploration: the Citadelle, the largest fort in the Americas, which he calls "extraordinary." Goldstein and Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain saw the site in Haiti on Friday, on an unpublicized visit – their first time in the country since the devastating earthquake in January.
The executives also met with the local management team at Labadee, the private beach resort in northern Haiti that Royal Caribbean operates for its passengers. The last time the executives visited was in October, when they toured new facilities built to handle the world's largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas (accompanied at the time by former President Bill Clinton, U.N. special envoy to Haiti).
After the earthquake, the cruise line, which has operated the Labadee resort for 30 years, received a great deal of flak for returning its ships to Haiti within days, offering a party atmosphere for cruise passengers while the death toll mounted in Port-au-Prince, some 85 miles away. At the time, Haitian officials applauded Royal Caribbean's support, especially in keeping locals employed. The cruise line also made a $1 million donation to help in the recovery effort.
Joining the executives on last week's tour was Haiti's Minister of Tourism Patrick Delatour, who was personally involved in the restoration of the Citadelle in 1972. The fort, which was built in the early 19th century after Haiti declared independence from France, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. Goldstein describes the Citadelle as sitting on top of a 3,000-foot mountain, but he does not discuss the challenges of getting cruise passengers to the site.
"I've been talking about the Citadelle for a long time so it made sense to actually go see it myself. It's extraordinary." He adds, "How people in the early 1800s got the rocks and munitions up that big hill is mind boggling." As for Labadee, Goldstein reports the resort "looked great and was in full stride with Independence of the Seas at the beautiful new pier."
The executives, Goldstein says, also discussed the possibility of building a new school for locals.
Update, 10:30 a.m.: A Royal Caribbean spokesman confirmed that an excursion to Haiti's Citadelle is in development. The fort site, he said, is "not far" from Labadee.

This probably should be

This probably should be closer to the top. Since RC is all about the beauty of the islands, I think they could fund a project to clean some of the coastline in Cap which is horribly polluted with trash and sewage


The reason that the loud

The reason that the loud detractors attack Royal Caribbean is the reason that the guides attack the tourists in cars. They recognize who has the money, there is not as much of it around, they would like some and they want to be bought off. The guides at least want to do something of positive value. The agitators seldom can produce something which can bring in as much value as either the guides or RC.

It would be good for the Haitians to look at the development of Negril, Jamaica where the Jamaican expatriates and remaining locals built units for rent and formed marketing associations. The larger hotel chains eventually found it too. The Haitian expatriates who want to be productive could do the same thing further down the coast.

HOPE IS NEAR: Won't You Join Us?

The Humanity Of Our Hearts Is The Only Road To Peace And Change.
By Wilgeens Rosenberg

I hope the Haitian youths abroad and in Haiti of today have in mind better solutions than of those of yesterday.

A new Era is approaching and accept, believe it or not, it is an era of peace for greater possibilities of hope and reconciliations. Such an Era has been long anticipated and overdue and we only have but in our hearts now to see "Just" in accomplish this goal. We have long been proud of our differences that divide us, however when will we be just as proud about the commonalities that relate us all as just for who and what we are - We are all humans. Thus, we should all ask ourselves where have all our humanities gone to and as to how have we come this far to be the way we are - our inhumanities.

Let us all hope there are better days ahead or shall we give in to the patterns of our History is still up to us all. Today, in this new era and frontier we face, peace is ours as well as change. Indeed, Yes today is not Yesterday; we say instead...

Yes today, both peace and change are ours.

PS: Let us ask for Agricultural Aide and Reform in Haiti so Haiti can have a chance at becoming self-sufficient.


Well, I agree with your comments and specifically referring to the misconception that Royal Carribean is exploiting Haiti. We can only wish that there are other investors like RC interested in investing in the country so that the natives can find a job, allowing them to put food on their table, which is something rare these days.
On another note, I went to Cap-Haitien recently and I have heard rumors about a road that will soon be contructed, connecting the Citadel and Labadee using Port-Francais as a relay near Baland or Baie de l'Acul. The benefits would be to attract a number of tourists form the Dominican Republic using a road that is safe. Can anyone confirm?

Social Responsibility

Your ideas are good! I think the first step would be to determine what they are doing right now and then to use that to determine what they could do. What percentage of profits is reinvested in the community? RC could then be engaged constructively emphasizing that social responsibility makes good business sense. They do have a clinic but perhaps they can partner with some of the organizations you have already mentioned. Lots of possibilities.


Stuff I would love to see happen:

1) Support more local non-profits working in Cap (like AFASDA who works victims of domestic violence or SOIL who build composting toilets or Project Pierre Toussaint who work with street kids or AIDG (my NGO) who works on biogas and sanitation.) Give vacation goers the option of donating some of their dollars to x charity in y location or to a general RC fund the way British Airways or Virgin Atlantic support UNICEF,etc.

2) I understand that they helped build a one-room clinic in the village of Labadee (I haven't visited it so I can't confirm the state that it is currently in). Continue to make improvements to it, keep it stocked, etc.

3) Recycle/compost some of that trash that they leave at a dumping site down the road from Labadee. (The dumping site IS clean/not smelly. Everything is in closed plastic bags, but I reckon a lot of that stuff is recyclable.)

4) Fund micro-enterprise workshops (BYU Microfranchise program has some great materials) to help the folks who are making money by selling things to tourists grow/expand their small businesses.

5) A project or two or lots in Cap or events. Your typical community relations stuff.

6) This probably should be closer to the top. Since RC is all about the beauty of the islands, I think they could fund a project to clean some of the coastline in Cap which is horribly polluted with trash and sewage. That admittedly would be a non-trivial endeavor, but might fit more with their corporate mission. Plus they could employ local labor to work on clean-up activities, etc. etc.


Cat, I hear you. But what concrete things do you think RC should do in order to be more socially responsible? What would you like to see happen?

Bryan, you misunderstand me.

Bryan, you misunderstand me. My beef is that if only 300 formal sector jobs are being created in the tourism sector from an operation that moves tens of 1,000s of people through a location a year, something is seriously amiss.

C'mon now. I'm not an idiot. I'm in no way saying that RC shouldn't be there. I know there are no jobs in Cap and the employees are probably paid reasonably well. I'm psyched that RC are there. I just think they get more credit than they deserve given the impact that they've had on the local community.

Also as a business operating in the climate where social responsibility is becoming more and more important, I think they are seriously failing to capitalize on an opportunity to do a LARGE amount of good.

Tourists in Haiti

Cat, it is easy to disparage 300 jobs when one is employed already and eating three meals a day. Find me one other business (not a government ministry that does the same.) The difficulty involved is a measure of how weak the private sector is in Haiti. I would love for more people to benefit from the tourist traffic - but you and I both know it would be chaos if people could come and go as they pleased. Have you been to the Citadel lately? I know people who've backed their cars up and left because dozens of people were banging on their windows wanting to be their guides. I can't blame them - Haitians like anyone else want to work. But at the end of the day, would Labadee be better served if RC didn't dock? I dont think it would be. My suggestions to readers are that if they agree with their corporate philosophy, let RC know. If you don't, let them know that as well. But do homework first.

I drove by the barbed wire

I drove by the barbed wire fences that keep the nice Americans in and the Haitians out of Labadee Beach the other day.

Yes, 300 people are formally employed which is a good thing, but a pittance considering the amount of wealth transfer that could be happening. From my understanding of the current situation. The money that is given to the Haitian government goes to the capital and none of it filters down to Cap-Haitien where it could improve public services for the residents.

Because the place is in lock-down, no other businesses or restaurants that could serve the gazillion tourists who come by each year can be started. The beach is owned by one family at worst or a group of families at best. And they are making a killing.

Local entrepreneurs can in no way get a foothold. So a few people get to sell trickets to rich Americans? Big frigging deal...

The business brought in by RC could do so much more for the local economy than it is currently doing. You're right. It is not necessarily RC's job to navigate that social justice minefield. However, informed consumers who want their vacation money to go to a socially responsible company can help make it RC's business.

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