In November, a delegation from the largest Canadian air carrier specializing in holiday travel, intended to better inquire of tourism potential of the country, in order to explore the possibilities of development of tourist packages (tour) in Haiti the largest Canadian air carrier specializing in holiday travel, intended to better inquire of tourism potential of the country, in order to explore the possibilities of development of tourist packages (tour) in Haiti.
in early December the spokesperson of tour operator declared “We can confirm that we have open discussions with representatives of the country and we do not close the door to a future collaboration for vacation packages.”
Transat A.T. Inc., one of the largest integrated tourism companies in the world and Canada’s holiday travel leader, recently announced that it will offer vacation packages to Haiti out of Montreal, beginning January 23, 2013. The packages will combine stays in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, and on the Côte des Arcadins, featuring magnificent beaches, with an extensive program of guided excursions: museums, historical and natural sites, theme routes, sports and seaside activities.
“More and more travellers want to enjoy an enriching human experience when they take their Sun holiday,” said Annick Guérard, General Manager, Transat Tours Canada. “These new packages are designed for customers seeking vacations that combine discovery and relaxation. We have developed an innovative and distinctive product that is consistent with our desire to offer holiday travel that is centred on authenticity, culture and nature.” Ms. Guérard added: “We are taking the partnership we established with Haiti nearly 20 years ago a step further and we are planning to expand this initial offering in the coming years.”
In addition to seven-day double-discovery packages, travellers — especially those visiting family and friends in Haiti — will be able to choose from among a variety of four-day seaside packages. All excursions and visits will be led by local guides. Transat has concluded agreements with an incoming travel agency and hotels that offer a two-meal-a-day plan. The new products will be sold under the Transat Holidays brand.
“We are building our tourism development strategy particularly on associations with first-rate partners like Transat, which will be the first major Canadian tour operator to offer tourism packages to Haiti,” said Haitian Tourism Minister Stéphanie Balmir Villedrouin. “Tourism is a vital driver of socio-economic development. Like Transat, which is working toward more sustainable tourism, we are hoping for this development to occur in a responsible and integrated way that takes into account the needs of our people and protection of the environment.” Ms. Balmir Villedrouin concluded: “Our country has all the potential necessary to win back the hearts of international travellers, particularly Canadians, who have always shown great solidarity with Haiti.” Tourists are being invited to “vivre l’expérience Haiti” (live the Haiti experience) with Transat.
Haiti is making substantial efforts to revitalize tourism activity and enhance the country’s image. Haiti wants to take its place on the world stage within two years and benefit from the growth of international tourism. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the global tourism industry grew by 3% in 2011, to nearly one billion travellers, generating economic benefits of US$6 trillion, or 9% of the world’s gross domestic product, and employed 255 million workers.
Haiti occupies the western portion of the island of Hispaniola, which Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic. Hispaniola is the Caribbean’s second-largest island, after Cuba. Haiti welcomed nearly 945,000 travellers in 2011, with cruise passengers making up nearly 65% of these international arrivals. Canada is Haiti’s second-largest source of tourists, after the United States and before France.
Transat has a longstanding friendship with Haiti. Beyond its business operations — Air Transat flies weekly between Montreal and Port-au-Prince — the tour operator contributes to the Haitian community through its acts of solidarity. In recent years, Transat has transported tonnes of relief supplies to the country and supported the work of humanitarian organizations including the Canadian Red Cross and SOS Children’s Villages.
Transat A.T. Inc. is an integrated international tour operator with more than 60 destination countries and that distributes products in over 50 countries. A holiday travel specialist, Transat operates mainly in Canada and Europe, as well as in the Caribbean, Mexico and the Mediterranean Basin. Montreal-based Transat is also active in air transportation, accommodation, destination services and distribution.