News & updates

Hilton Foundation partnership aims to provide long term service to Haiti

07 September 2010
Initial Relief Efforts

A global hospitality partnership has come together to help the recovery process in Haiti with a programme to support young Haitians into the hospitality sector.

In the wake of the earthquake in January 2010, which killed more than 250,000 people and left one million homeless, a vast international response occurred to deliver aid and relief. However as one of the poorest countries in the world Haiti faces particular challenges for its mid to long term recovery.

As a response to this need The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF) has partnered with a network of interested parties and supporters including Hilton in the Community Foundation, Bench Events, Questex and EHL to set up a fund to train and educate young people in Haiti into the hospitality sector.

Louise John, CHTA Education Foundation Haiti Fund Programme Trustee said: "With tourism accounting for more than 65% of the GDP of most Caribbean countries investment in hospitality and tourism professionals is critical for Haiti's sustainability and the region's economic development. This CHTAEF Haiti Fund will look to target this area of need by initially supporting and training young people into the hospitality sector in Haiti. By working together we believe that we can help to make a sustainable positive difference in this area through a long term investment in these young people's talents."

Following the earthquake the Haiti hotel training school is unusable, while the Quisqeya University Tourism's building collapsed entirely. The CHTAEF Haiti Fund will initially support the surviving 22 students from the course and additionally up to 25 surviving young hotel workers. Efforts will be made to train the young people with free English lessons and certified training qualifications in hotel and hospitality skills and knowledge. The students will also subsequently be able to undertake a supported scholarship including work placement training.

Local hoteliers will be helping with the planning and delivery of the initiative with the Plaza Hotel, the last hotel left standing in Port au Prince, taking a lead role. Four hotels across Haiti including the Plaza have already offered meeting room space for the training to be delivered.

Hilton in the Community Foundation, the charity of the world renowned hospitality company, has agreed to channel donations and co-ordinate the fundraising for the Fund. £33,583 has already been committed to the Fund thanks to donations from HCF, Questex and private donations.

Simon Sheehan, Director of Hilton in the Community Foundation said: "While we appreciate how much work there is to be done in Haiti we believe that this partnership and fund is a hugely positive step forward and was a great match with both the Foundation's mission to support those most in need and Hilton's commitment to excellence in the sector. By investing in young talent we hope that these students can then in turn use their skills and knowledge to teach others and to give a real boost to tourism in Haiti.

The project is due to start in October 2010 as the initial phase of a five year plan by the CHTAEF. For more information please visit

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