One year later: Haitian hoteliers rebuild with help of U.S.- based team


Experienced Caribbean hotel operator NEF & JM Associates helps local Haitian hotels rebuild, bringing new jobs and hope to Haiti.

One year following the earthquake that destroyed more than fifty percent of the hotel room inventory in Haiti, NEF&JM Associates, a U.S.-based team of experienced hotel operators, remains actively involved in supporting local owners to rebuild their properties and develop new projects. Because of the magnitude of the earthquake’s destruction, the economic impact in Haiti has been tremendous. Business meetings and conventions have been postponed or moved elsewhere due to the lack of accommodations in the area, resulting in a significant loss of potential income across all industries. NEF&JM Associates has maintained its commitment to helping rebuild tourism in Haiti, delivering sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits across all industries.

Currently, the U.S. firm is helping two projects, Hotel Villa St. Louis in Port-au-Prince and Belle Rive in Jacmel, and may soon announce their participation in their third hotel project in Haiti. The new Hotel Villa St. Louis will be the first hotel to be fully rebuilt and reopened since the earthquake and will serve as a leader for the local hospitality industry, providing employment opportunities for many currently out-of-work hotel workers.

The immediate impact of job creation during the design and construction of the new Hotel Villa St. Louis will be significant, providing several hundred urgently needed employment opportunities. Local consultants, designers and labor workers will all be given preference. An estimated 100 opportunities for employment will be created by Haitian vendors, suppliers and professional service providers, who will support the construction of the project. Additional employment will be created indirectly by purchasing local building materials, artwork and crafts.

During its initial years of operation, the property will create 100 to 120 full-time permanent employment opportunities. Twenty percent of these roles will be management or supervisory positions. Another 30 part-time employment opportunities will also be available for servicing banquets, meetings and other special events. Operations will also lead to an estimated 100 to 200 indirect work opportunities in related hospitality activities.

“Hotel redevelopment will not only create substantial local employment during construction but also provide direct and indirect job opportunities for Haitian nationals in the immediate and long-term future, as well as much needed accommodation for visitors” said NEF & JM Associates Partner Nikolas Eastwick-Field.

The firm has worked closely with several financial institutions in sourcing funding but has been disappointed in the overall response and lack of funds available to date: the projects are viable, the business community is looking to put their lives back together, the need for employment opportunities is obvious as is the need for acceptable accommodations for visiting business persons and professionals in the Port-au-Prince area.

“Unfortunately, many outsiders see Haiti as a car accident,” explained co-partner John Murphy. “They stop to look, feel bad but then move on. It’s time for all of us to take action.”

Former President Clinton, now UN Special Envoy to Haiti and co-chair of the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC), in speaking to the 2010 Caribbean Investment Conference in San Juan earlier this year, also stressed the importance of the hospitality sector in the overall rebuilding process and new job creation.

“Tourism is critical to the sustained economic growth and sustainability for Haiti’s long-term recovery,” he stated.

Source = NEF & JM Associates
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