Merry Christmas! It’s that time of the year when blessings and sharings abound, and… as well as having new beginnings.
This now brings us to our topic for this issue – the rise of not just one but four stars; that is Haiti’s first 4-star hotel which is now underway. As we know, Haiti was among those Caribbean pearls that most everybody would love to visit; however, political instability, corruption, environmental degradation, violence, and not long ago even an earthquake (2010) and a cholera outbreak (2010-11) sent its economy in shambles.
Nonetheless, good news came just in time for Christmas through Marriott International‘s $45M hotel project which is expected to boost Haiti’s economy. As Denis O’Brien, chairman of Digicel Group (project investor) noted – this hotel would solve lodging issues, create jobs, attract foreign investors, and communicate a positive outlook for Haiti’s future.
The Argument: Business Development.
While a hotel would provide answers for O’Brien’s observations which is good for business – more than natural disasters (that man could more often than not prepare for), Haiti is still a divided country – and its human rights was even described as “catastrophic” by the UN. So, whether you’re a tourist or not – contractor, foreign aid worker, or diplomat – could you be truly at peace in such a situation? How “profitable” then could Marriott be?
Am I then insinuating that Marriott made the wrong move? Not necessarily. In spite of Haiti’s problems, it is still a wonderful country. Then how should have its challenges been dealt with? Simple yet not so simple. Its government should show results in its effort to truly improve the situation while Marriott, unless totally sure, should just start with a smaller hotel. After all, its planned 4-star hotel would only create 200 jobs. Why, are there only 200 unemployed people in Haiti? Of course, there are plans to put up more structures and hopefully, Marriott would be that calming influence to its people as well as a magnet to potential investors.
See, though part of the country’s division could be attributed to its wealth gap that job creation would not actually be able to solve – providing jobs to the majority could solve if not ease the tension. In the business sense, putting up a smaller hotel may mean lesser jobs but not necessarily without foreign attention; after all, it’s Marriott on the steering wheel. Obviously, the better side to this is you spend less while the political situation is still “not totally” under control; and at the same time, still attracting some investors thereby leading to more jobs.
Yes, a $45M hotel investment is not really big but its maintenance would naturally be bigger than a “smaller hotel”. Do the math.
Thus, if there’s what you call national security for governments’ controlled approach, business organizations should also be reminded of “risk management” specially when it comes to a location’s overall stability.
What’s your take?