Tuesday 1-3-5 : Jacqualine Labrom, Voyages Lumiere

Jacqualine Labrom / Voyages Lumière  / Email: voyageslumierehaiti@gmail.com/ Phone: (509) 3607-1321

MMPB : Could you present Voyages Lumiere to those who do not know it yet ? What services are you offering ? When was Voyages Lumieres founded ? 

Jacqualine Labrom : Voyages Lumiere is a Tour operator business working in Haiti.  With 14 years of experience in Haitian tourism, Voyages Lumieres is able to help everyone to see the most beautiful parts of Haiti.  Haiti has much to offer and visitors or people coming to work here should take advantage of it.

Voyages Lumière offers a total package – flights/transport, hotels, tours, guides. All you have to do is tell us what you want to do, and we organise the whole thing. You then just pay your money, pick up your tickets and vouchers and then go and enjoy your visit – anywhere around the country of Haiti. If you don’t know where to go – then we can offer all kinds of suggestions.

We have a contact list where you can send in your email address and we will regularly give you ideas about forthcoming holiday weekends and what’s available, or offer tours on certain days.  We also can look after your family or friends when they come to Haiti to visit you, and you have to work. We take them on tours during the day while you’re working.

MMPB : There sounds to have a new . According to your experience in this field, which are the strengths and weaknesses of Haitian tourism sector?

Jacqualine Labrom  : The strengths :

1- The untouched beauty of the country. Unlike the DR we have beaches which are not packed with tourists. You can enjoy the peace and quiet of the sea and the beaches, as well as the lovely mountains.

2- The variety of the country:  beaches, cities and mountains. You can find beautiful beaches to go to and relax.  You can visit interesting
cities such as Jacmel and Cap Haitian, as well as Port-au-Prince/Pétion-Ville, with its galleries and artisanat shops, as well as historic Gingerbread houses, Historic museum and the heroes of the revolution. Not many people realise that over 65% of Haiti is on a gradient of 7% or more, thus many many mountains.  For those who love hiking and walking, there are plenty of places to enjoy.

3- The Haitian people love receiving visitors and tourists are not targeted for violence. The people know that when there are tourists in the
country then everyone eats!

4 – The Art and Artisanat – which is unlike any other Caribbean country.  People are always amazed at the breadth of the Art and Artisanat coming out of this poor country.

5- The Creole cuisine – very sophisticated and varied.  It’s fun to introduce visitors to the various unique Haitian dishes and to the award
winning Rhum Barbancourt and the Prestige beer.

6 – The Haitian music – again unlike the rest of the Caribbean.  Kompa and RAM are two favourite styles of music, as well as the
troubadour groups.

The weaknesses 

1- No signs to show tourists where to go. Even our number one Tourist site, the Citadelle, does not have a sign on the road pointing to it!! If a visitor travels in from the DR then they will have no idea on how to get to Port-au-Prince or to Pétion-Ville.

2- No Tourist bureaux to help tourists when they are in the country.  A few years ago they started putting Maisons de Tourism in each major city – PauP, Jacmel and Cap Haitian but they stopped doing it after 2/3 years. I believe there are plans to restore these and I hope that happens.

3- The situation at the airport upon arrival: The Ministry of Tourism in conjunction with the Airport officials need to work on putting in a better system for the porters and taxis at the airport. Everyone coming in is off put by the aggressiveness of the people working at the airport. I understand totally that they need a job, but there has to be some control, as I know many visitors – mission groups etc. refuse to use the porters because of the aggression. They should have a Director for the Taxis, allocating a chauffeur when needed to a particular person, and then the next one etc.  The same for the porters – they should be allocated to visitors, one by one.  The amount of arguing and fighting that goes on between the porters is a bad example of Haitian hospitality.

4- Hotel rooms should have better prices for tourists – at the moment the hotels are all geared towards receiving business
consultants.  These people are not necessarily paying out of their own pockets for their hotel rooms, so they do not mind if the price is high.  BUT the tourist is very sensitive to hotel prices and if Haiti Tourism professionals wish to attract and encourage tourists to come here, then they need to fix prices which are more in line with other countries.

5- Tourist buses – buses which are geared towards comfort, with a/c and one place per person. Transport Chic is doing a marvellous job taking people down to Aux Cayes, with an amazing price. We need more of these for Jacmel, for Cap Haitian, for the Central Plateau etc.

6- Fix the roads – although the tourists understand that Haiti is a poor country, even so, the state of the roads is terrible, and as a Tourism professional here I always feel embarrassed.  Plus this would help the traffic and make it move easier and faster.  The time wasted in taking people to and from the attractions in the country makes it uncomfortable for the visitor.

7- Do something about the trash – I can’t believe that there are so many NGOs here in Haiti as well as a functioning TPTC and yet the Trash
is one of the most TERRIBLE SIGHTS for visitors.  I often take people thru an alternative route so they don’t pass by roads which are full of trash. I don’t understand why the people responsible don’t put trash cans every few feet in the markets for marchandes to put their trash in. Do they think the marchandes have to take it home?!!

MMPB : The Ministry of Tourism launched a contest to find a new logo and slogan for Haiti as a touristic destination. Among all the submissions available on the site at haititourisme.gouv.ht/concours2012, which one is your favourite or which logo would you pick?

The slogan I would suggest is VIVE LA DIFFERENCE – it was an old slogan of Haiti – many years ago, and I think it shows that Haiti is not the same as the other Caribbean countries. It is the Alternative Caribbean – with so much more to offer.

Jacqualine 5 Fav places in Haiti

CYVADIER PLAGE – just outside of Jacmel. The main reason is that I think the restaurant has the most beautiful view overlooking the sandy bay. The service and food are excellent.  If you like lobster then their lobster sauté-d is the best in the world.  All my clients agree with me.

NORM’S PLACE – on the bay of Labadie. A guesthouse which was built on the ruins of a Colonial house.  Two steps out the front door and
you’re in the sea. Although it’s near where the cruise ships come in, you are not bothered by them.  The best service and food amongst all the hotels in the North.  My home from home. 

LAKOU LAKAY – the community restaurant in Milot, near the Citadelle.  Run by Maurice Etienne, a wonderful man who is well respected in the area.  The lunch there is among the best Haitian food, and the welcome you receive is wonderful.  To do the Citadelle trip and then finish up with having lunch at Lakou Lakay makes for a great experience.

POINTE OUEST, Ile de la Tortue.  Sadly there are no hotels (that I know of at this moment) on the island – which is above Port-de-Paix, but the beach on the Western Point – Pointe Ouest – is supposed to be one of the best beaches of the Caribbean and I have to agree.  My favourite trip of my life – and I’ve travelled around Europe, N. America and the Greek islands and Turkey for example, was to take a Haitian voilier (sailboat) and sail across to the Beach for about 3 hours.  Just bliss.  The sea is like emerald glass and the beach goes on and on and is a wonderful white color.

CROIX DES BOUQUETS – my favourite tour – to visit the Unique village of the metal sculpture artists who make wonderful artistic pieces out of basic materials, with the simplest of tools.  This village showcases the very best of Haitian creativity.  What is even nicer is that the artists do not put any pressure on you to buy – they are delighted when you do, but they are not aggressive.

Pemba City Blog

2 Comments

  1. AMWA , 5 years ago

    Great article! I’m a big fan of Jacqui’s – we are lucky to have such a resource! Note to self…Ile de la Tortue…

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  2. Jaslin , 5 years ago

    I have to say that ile de la tortue is a beautiful island which I call home. I would love to see ile de la tortue become a touristic island, just like the Bahamas,Jamaica and any other islands.
    I live in central Florida for the most of my life. Where I received an American education. I was in haiti couple months ago what i saw in big cities is really disgusting. where’s the people who are responsible for cleaning the streets, where is EDH? For example Port-de-paix; why in the world we have no lights in port- de- paix? Why there is so much trash out on the streets? when i was there one night I had to used a flash light to get around. and we call this a ville? I would rather live in ile de la tortue instead of Port-de-Paix. ILE DE LA TORTUE DESERVE A BIG DEVELOPEMENT.
    Take a look at Eleuthera Bahamas for an example there is no different than ile de la tortue beautiful beaches, everywhere, they have lights,work, tourism. WHY NOT ILE DE LA TORTUE?????

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