Haiti history in tourism had been one of an exotic culture, exquisite cuisine, distinctive and colorful art, handcrafts, castles and resorts, and an attractive destination. Its eclectic and cultural development has brought both positive and negative attributes to Haiti’s socioeconomic infrastructure. Vive la différence, Haiti’s tourism slogan meaning “live long the difference” (Dictonary.com, 2016), is an expression of appreciation of diversity, approval and of the positive difference between the sexes, however, tourism has been problematic in Haitian culture.
Haiti with its fiery and tempestuous climate, refreshing and cool coastline and waterfronts, and most of all its voluminous mountainsides, have attracted tourist for decades. Haitian’s diverse ancestry assimilates aboriginal civilization, Spanish imperialism, European influence and an African integration, and conglomeration. Haiti too has a mystique and intrigue stemming from their Voodoo affiliations, Moorish attractions and the dangers of their past mythological “Tonton Macoute”, inflicted back in the Duvalier regime of instability and terror (Wikipedia, 2016).
So what created the ascension, and then decline to Haitian tourism given their beautiful land, and their eclectic ancestry. They have aspired artistically by Spanish and African culture, with beautiful castles [San-Souci Place], and fortress [Citadelle Laferriére], their vibrant colors influenced by the Taino and Spanish, which is reflected in their native dress call the quadrille or “karabella”, a cotton bandana skirt with a ruffled sleeve blouse. Cuisine is representative of spices, potatoes, rice, corn, beans, plantains and tropical fruits, and one of the founders of barbeque foods, their dance and music having more elements of Taino, French, and African rhythms with derivatives from Vodou ceremonies.
Haitian tourism is dealing and make a come back from two opposing phenomenon’s. One has to do with the instability of the Haitian government, and inadequate infrastructure and broken neighbors. Haiti tourism was nearly wiped out by the Duvalier regime of terror. “Papa Doc” Duvalier imposed, and ruled with intimidation and fear. He started the “Macoute” which is rooted in the “Milice de Volontaires de la Sécurité Nationale” a militia of National Security Volunteers said to be compatible with the Italian fascist paramilitary (Wikipedia, 2016). Haitian’s named this dynamism after a mythological character named “Tonton Macoute” or Uncle Gunnysack depicting a bogeyman who abducts, and punishes rebellious children taking them in a gunny sack [French: macoute] and eating them. This regime of fear and terror deterred any international visitation from late 1950 until the 1970’s, depleting economic growth and development through tourism.
Second is the whole notion and infatuation surrounding dark tourism, vicarious experiences with danger, intrigue, and self-reflection. These instances may be reflected in the Haitian revolution, where individuals are intrigue with the questionable savagery of mass killing, and how it was accomplished by people of color, and exploitation of whites, voodoo “black magic” mystique, where their rituals are stereotypical dark and negative, and people come to experience this unknown phenomenon to satisfy the questionable. Experiences of native dance and music are they just to avail individuals of something different, and or appreciate, or justify an inner feeling, thought or condition. Is there something innate in the human condition that this dark tourism justifies, some inner feeling it identifies with, or does it start the process of stereotyping, ignorance and superiority (Bruner, 1989).
Bruner, E. M. (1989). Of Cannibals, Tourists, and Ethnographers. American Anthropological
Association, 4(4), 438-445.
Wikipedia the free encyclopedia (n.d). Culture of Haiti. Retrieved 2016, from
Wikipedia the free encyclopedia (n.d). Tourism in Haiti. Retrieved 2016, from