Vive la différence

logo_tourismHaiti 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” (, 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 waterdecades. 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).

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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

2 thoughts on “Vive la différence

  1. Allan, thank you for writing about Haiti. This is another country I know nothing about except the wonderful people from Haiti that I was lucky to meet here in Connecticut. It is painful to read that Haiti went through such a turmoil politically and economically. The earthquake of 2010 was another tragedy that struck the country and it still deals with the aftermath of the destruction. Watching the promotional video you posted gives a hope for Haiti’s future.

    I found this article with a catchy title “Is Tourism Haiti’s Magic Bullet” published in 2013 ( The authors analyze the current development in tourism industry and emphasize the importance of preserving the local culture – this relates to Week 6 readings.


  2. This is the first time I’ve ever been on your blog so let me just say I love the Creole translation of the Gandhi quote! Haiti is definitely a country that has suffered immensely, and I think that has a lot to do with why it’s been hard for it to pick back up. Haiti is one of those countries that is remembered for tragedy, instead of it’s beauty. Hopefully people can see how amazing Haiti is. It is definitely one of my favorite islands.


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