Envisioning a New Jacmel
By Bryan Schaaf on Sunday, May 29, 2011.
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Trade is more important to Haiti’s future than aid. This includes agricultural revitalization, industrial development, and perhaps growth in the tourism sector. Jacmel, Haiti’s city of art, has always been one of its most appealing cities. While the city took serious damage during the earthquake, the Capponi Group and the Jacmel Advisory Council are collaborating in the development of Jacmel's downtown, including the construction of a hotel. At the same time, Yele has committed to developing Jacmel’s first tourism training school. Concept art and video can be found on the Capponi Group website. Additional information follows.
Background: Jacmel is one the many gems that Haiti has to offer. Once called the pearl of the Caribbean, this incredible and diversified historical treasure is now center stage for a major revitalization project currently under way. This website has been created to showcase the real Haiti that most have never imagined. By tourists visiting Jacmel, all kinds of new industries will breed. The governing thesis being advancement of the Haitian people through employment, healthcare, education and permanent housing. It will re-establish the historical relevance of Jacmel as a commerce and tourist center, thus providing a sustainable socio-economic system for thousands of Haitians. This model will bring hope and a future to the people of Haiti. Jacmel founded in 1698 has a distinguished history of economic and cultural prosperity. A prominent center for trade and commerce, Jacmel was once a significant port for the exportation of coffee and precious oils. Today, Jacmel is considered by many to be the cultural capital of Haiti. Known for its distinctive artistic traditions, Jacmel has produced some of Haiti's best-known painters, writers and poets. With its rich cultural scene, Jacmel is one of the major production centers for indigenous arts and crafts. Jacmel is a place apart from the rest of the country. Known for its French colonial architecture, the town has maintained a distinctive, Old World charm. Beautiful beaches and unique hotels draw Haitians and foreigners alike to Jacmel for calm and relaxation. In fact, Jacmel’s urban and architectural design is credited with having influenced New Orleans’ French Quarter which was modeled on the center of town of Jacmel. Today Jacmel has been tentatively accepted as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The quality of life, services and infrastructure in Jacmel maintain a climate of general peace and stability not easily found in other parts of the nation. These factors make it the most dynamic and interesting place to begin to comprehend this often-misunderstood nation. Jacmel is host to the most academically progressive French Lycee in the nation and celebrates a popular carnival renowned for its artistic uniqueness each year. Jacmel is Haiti's fifth largest city, with an estimated population of 60,000.
The Hotel: Le Village de Port- Jacmel will consist of a 45 room, 4 star Hotel and Boutique Resort that's affordable for everyone. The resort will have Retail Shops, Art Galleries, 3 Restaurants and 4 Bars, a one of a kind entertainment deck over looking beautiful historic Jacmel and the Jacmel Bay. The property will include entertainment such as weddings, fashion shoots and all kinds of amazing amenities. Other amenities include: Spa, Gym, Marina, Bakery and Boulangerie, Tennis Court by Venus Williams and home of the Venus Williams Haitian After-School Academy. Also home to Haiti Tours Inc. a full service concierge company providing door to door service to properly and safely experience all Haiti has to offer. Haiti Tours offers specially trained guides, which have notably graduated from Yele's new Hospitality School. These guides will escort you to Haiti's most remote and beautiful locations. It's our passion and pleasure to introduce you to Haiti's Hidden Gem! Le Village de Port-Jacmel founder Michael Capponi who is one of the pioneers that helped spawn the rejuvenation of South Beach in the early 90's, promises to have true first class events always happening in this resort. Property developed by Capponi Khawly Vorbe Group.
Voluntertourism: Voluntourism is travel which includes volunteering for a charitable cause. In recent years, "bite-sized" volunteer vacations have grown in popularity. The types of volunteer vacations are diverse, from low-skill work with children in humanitarian camps or providing high-skill medical aid in Haiti. Volunteer vacations participants are diverse but typically share a desire to “do something good” while also experiencing new places and challenges in locales they might not otherwise visit." (Wikipedia) Join one of the first "socially responsible" trips to Haiti this May 2011 and contribute to the rebuilding and revitalization of this beautiful country. Meet with organizations such as Fonkoze and Zafen focusing on micro-financing and women's empowerment, visit local Haitian artisans and purchase directly to create a market for their handcrafted goods, help reconstruct a sustainable rural community with an emphasis on providing education, employment, and health care to those in need, work with street kids on art therapy projects and creating murals around Jacmel, and support local Haitian filmmakers from the Cine Institute by screening films at their gorgeous waterfront academy. The group will also be enjoying a fresh seafood lunch and relaxation time on the beach and at Bassin Bleu - one of the most amazing landscapes in Haiti boasting 3 deep blue pools linked by spectacular waterfalls. Through responsible tourism, Haiti has the potential to start over after the devastating earthquake and develop a thriving and sustainable economy. Be one of the first responsible tourists to Haiti and do your part to make a positive impact on the rebuilding efforts of this much deserving country and its warm, welcoming people. Plan your voluntourism trip to Haiti by contacting: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacmel’s Advisory Council: The Jacmel Advisory Board is a group of dedicated people from all over the world that have united to help revitalize Jacmel while preserving it's arts, culture and traditions. The board promotes best practices to provide a socio-economic system for thousands of Haitians. Click here for a list of its members.
Tourism, whether targeted to the Diaspora or more broadly, could potentially contribute to the economies of cities such as Jacmel. While Jacmel has both coastline and cultural resources, so do other Haitian cities. What makes Jacmel unique is having a plan and public/private partnerships to implement it. Updates will be posted in the comments section as they become available.
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