IN HAITI, DIGICEL & MARRIOTT BREAK GROUND ON MORE THAN JUST A HOTEL – Property Brings 200 Jobs and Economic Vitality to Haiti Three Years After Quake
Digicel and Marriott International (NYSE: MAR) just broke ground on the $45 million 175-room Marriott Hotels & Resorts brand hotel in the Turgeau area of Port-au-Prince, with opening expected in early 2015, making it the first four-star branded hotel in Haiti.
At a ceremony to mark the occasion, Marriott International’s President and Chief Executive Officer Arne Sorensen was joined by Digicel Chairman and Founder Denis O’Brien as well as the Minister of Tourism Stéphanie Balmir Villedrouin.
Digicel Group is responsible for designing and building the hotel and chose Marriott International’s signature Marriott Hotels & Resorts brand as its operating partner under a long-term management agreement. In addition to creating over 200 new hospitality jobs in Haiti, Marriott will invest in workforce training to benefit the country’s tourism sector.
Kier is the main contractor chosen for the hotel project and Turgeau Developments SA is the operating company, in which Digicel is the investment partner.
The hotel sets a new standard of excellence for the growing number of business travelers coming to Haiti, combining a friendly, professional and safe environment and offering the exceptional service that Marriott International offers worldwide in all of its properties. The hotel is especially suitable for business meetings, conferences and events and will feature the most up-to-date facilities in the city. The ballroom will comfortably accommodate around 380 people for dining and around 500 theatre-style.
The 175-room Marriott Hotel Port Au Prince will include five suites, a casual restaurant with private dining area, fitness center, swimming pool and a great room lobby that inspires creativity, productivity and social interaction with its conveniently dispersed zones including a bar and lounge. The property will also have a gift shop and marketplace and will offer guests 24 hour room service, WiFi and secure parking.
Digicel Group and its Chairman, Denis O’Brien, are committed to attracting foreign direct investment to Haiti and to helping the country rebuild in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake. Mr. O’Brien is Founder and Patron of the Digicel Foundation which to date has constructed 100 schools in Haiti. Further, as the Chairman of the Clinton Global Initiative’s Haiti Action Network, Mr. O’Brien has been instrumental in driving the activity of 80 support organizations in Haiti to deliver on their commitments and in reconstructing the iconic Iron Market in Port-au-Prince.
Marriott International meanwhile aspires to have a signature hotel in every major capital city in the countries where it operates while being instrumental in stimulating business and attracting leisure visitors to Haiti. Marriott took on this project with particular reference to its thousands of Haitian associates who work in its U.S. hotels and urged the company to do what it did best and open a hotel in Haiti. Marriott will also use the Port-au-Prince location as a center for hotel training for local staff, helping to ensure that international standards of excellence are met and maintained.
Commenting on the project, Digicel Chairman Denis O’Brien, said; “We’re delighted to be helping to bring the world-leading Marriott Hotels & Resorts brand to Haiti. Not only will this be a solution to the lodging issues in the city, it will also create jobs, attract foreign visitors and communicate a positive outlook for the future of Haiti. Haiti is a great place to invest and do business and I encourage others to take a look at the opportunities here.”
“We saw the need for a leading hotel brand in Haiti to accommodate the wave of travelers coming to do business in the country,” said Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer at Marriott International. “We believe we can make a difference in Haiti by creating jobs and developing the human talent that can help lift this country over time back to its rightful place as one of the top destinations in the Caribbean. We are working with the Minister of Tourism and the Secretary of State for Vocational Training on how we can support existing institutions to raise the quality of hospitality training.”
Prime Minister of Haiti Laurent Lamothe, commented; “The presence of the world-leading Marriott Hotels & Resorts brand in Haiti is another clear indicator that Haiti is serious about attracting foreign direct investment. I would like to commend both Marriott International and Digicel Group on their tireless commitment to Haiti and on making their vision a reality. This is a huge vote of confidence in the future of Haiti and I look forward to the Marriott Hotel Port au Prince opening its doors in 2015.”