Le Nouvelliste reports that the decision of American Airlines (AA) to suspend its activities in Cap-Haïtien has caused concern in the social and business sectors of Haiti’s northern region. The change to this destination has come right at the 350th anniversary of Cap-Haïtien and the 200th anniversary of the death of Henri Christophe.
The president of the Northern Chamber of Commerce, Marc Georges, believes that “this decision will negatively affect the economy of the region.”
Sharing the same opinion, hotelier Cyril Pressoir, vice-president of the Organisation de gestion de la destination Nord d’Haïti (OGDH) [Organization of Management of Northern Haiti], estimates that “a whole chain of values will suffer from this decision; that is, not only hotels, restaurants, guides, and day trippers, but also taxis and craft vendors. Thousands of jobs in the North are at risk,” he laments.
Tourism Minister Myriam Jean acknowledges that this AA decision, which she said was temporary, is a blow to tourism and travelers in general. She stresses the negative repercussions of Covid-19.
“We understand the concern of the Cap population in facing such a situation, but we immediately want to reassure them by telling them that this decision is indeed temporary … We have entered into talks with American Airlines, and flights should probably resume in Cap by the end of the year, i.e. in December,” reassures Minister of Tourism Myriam Jean.
The Northern Chamber of Commerce president thinks that “the private sector must, together with the government, quickly find an alternative either by trying to convince another airline to fill the void or to start a new national line.” This idea has already been debated within the government team, since the Minister of Tourism said that she wants to renegotiate with Spirit Airlines, which also left the Cap-Haïtien international airport last year.
“This AA decision should open our eyes to the reality that we can only count on our own efforts for the development of our region. The 350th anniversary of Cap-Haïtien and the 200th anniversary of the death of Henri Christophe must be for us this moment of national awakening to push us to save our region and our country,” proposes Marc Georges, who is still in disbelief.
“Cap-Haïtien,” Cyril Pressoir thinks, “is a destination. A destination only exists if it is accessible. According to the hotelier, the start of international flights in 2014 seemed to instill new momentum for the North and for Cap-Haïtien, and the hotel sector has invested to keep up with the new demand created by the arrival of travelers from American and Spirit. Today, the lack of main lines at the Cap-Haïtien airport is a terrible blow to the entire tourism sector, and it must be remedied very quickly,” recommends Mr. Pressoir.
Since the beginning of July, American Airlines has reduced service to Haiti and canceled the Miami-Cap-Haïtien route, in the middle of the holiday season.
Translated by Ivette Romero. For full article (in French), see https://lenouvelliste.com/article/218906/american-airlines-quitte-temporairement-le-cap-haitien-en-plein-350e-anniversaire-de-la-ville