Haiti: To Visit or Not To Visit

Cheap travel, cheap vacation packages, and cheap discount hotel rooms are great, but controversy has arisen whether cruise ships and travelers in general should be visiting Haiti during this time when they are trying to recover from a devastating earthquake believed to have killed as many as 200,000 people.

Last Friday the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship, which is owned by Royal Caribbean, was anchored off Labadee, Haiti, home of a magnificent white sand beach.

This resort beach is just 60 miles from Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, which suffered the worst of the earthquake.

The cruise ships that frequent this popular beach have become a lightening rod for people who challenge whether vacationers should be relaxing and enjoying themselves on this beach while there is so much suffering going on elsewhere on the island.

The counter argument is whether it would be much worse for cruise ships to stop visiting Haiti and deprive Haitians of the money they make from tourism.

One local exclaimed Without this, motioning toward the cruise ship we dont eat.

Royal Caribbean believes that they made the right decision to continue making scheduled stops in Labadee. There was no damage to this area and the Haitian government welcomed the cruise line. The benefits to Haiti of cruise line tourists includes the Haitian charge per cruise line passenger, as well as annual cruise line fees, and the cash tourists spend while onshore.

Royal Caribbean is also donating $1 million to the Haitian relief efforts, dropping off food and water every time it visits Haiti, and has promised to donate a portion of its revenue from Labadee to further help.

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