Would You Vacation in Haiti?

They have now confirmed over 150,000 deaths in Haiti. The massive earthquake injured and/or displaced thousands more. Families are still looking for lost loved ones, food and water are scarce, and many people sleep without shelter. The situation in Haiti is heartbreaking.

It’s hard to believe that less than 100 miles away is a tropical paradise. Labadee, Haiti is one port of call for the Royal Caribbean International cruise line. Kayaking, scuba diving, lounging on the beach, endless buffets, etc. Truly, a remarkable place. My question is:

In light of the devastating earthquake, would you continue on your vacation to Labadee? Or, pretend your Royal Caribbean, do you still use that port?

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Does proximity matter? Many argue that it’s wrong for vacationers to be partying only miles from the devastation. That seems valid. We wouldn’t go have a party near a funeral. On the other hand, what’s the difference between someone sipping champagne in Labadee than in Michigan? Life has “gone on” in other places so at what point is it viable to use Labadee? How far do you have to be away to begin normal life? 100 miles? 200 miles?
  • Is tourism helpful? Royal Caribbean is donating $1 million in aid plus the revenue generated from Labadee. Each ship is also packed with relief supplies. Vacationers are also encouraged to buy from the local shops. That seems helpful. On the other hand, could the money just be donated aside from vacationing?
  • How much time? Some argue the port should not be reopened until the country is out of rescue mode and into recovery. But the question here is: What about those in other parts of the country who are still trying to run their businesses to keep Haiti afloat? Is Labadee and the money it provides crucial to holding the country together? If the ship doesn’t go to Labadee it will go elsewhere. Is it better to just go to Labadee?
  • Does the size of the disaster matter? Haiti has been devastated. No question. But what about other parts of the world? People are hungry, thirsty, sick, and without shelter everyday. Yet, we vacation as normal. Where’s the line?

The issue is more in depth than is possible to cover. There is no easy answer to any of these questions. I’ve read several stories where people have decided to go on the cruise. They said when the boat stops in Labadee they’ll just get off and spend some money and get back on the ship. I’m not sure what I would do.

Is it right to vacation in Haiti right now? Does it help more than hurt?

What are your thoughts? Would you go? Should Royal Caribbean still be offering trips to Labadee? Are there other questions to think about? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

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13 Comments

Filed under In the News, poverty

13 responses to “Would You Vacation in Haiti?

  1. Such a good question. Haiti needs the income, but who could have a clear conscience vacationing so close to such devastation and suffering?

  2. Your right. It would be tough to sit on a beach taking in the sun knowing what was 100 miles away. Maybe distance does matter. I’ve sat on the couch eating popcorn and watching football and haven’t been bothered, but thinking about being on a beach in the same country seems different.

  3. Dana

    I think it would be great- stimulate the economy, make you think, Learn, might make you inspired to do more. That’s like saying don’t vacation in any third world country because the poor are suffering there. Travelling as long as you aren’t exploiting their resources is a good thing in my mind.

    • Yeah, I agree. We forget there are people in dire situations in a lot of the places we travel. I think I’m for Royal Caribbean continuing to stop there, but I think it would be hard for me to relax knowing the situation. Maybe like the people I mentioned above, if an individual didn’t like stopping there they could just hop off and support the local economy. Good thoughts dana!

  4. This is an interesting and difficult question. I guess my thought goes to the fact that we live so isolated in our day to day while so many are suffering (even in our own cities)– maybe it’s good to be confronted by this and realize though not to this level, people are suffering everywhere. Reminds me of Jesus’ story about the rich man and Lazarus. Poor Lazarus begged outside this other man’s gate for so long, but he paid no attention. I know we need time off and vacations, but our lives are vacations compared to much of the world–I need my vacation ruined by considering the suffering around me and doing something about it. Okay, I’m stopping now… 🙂

    • Good thinking about the Lazarus story. You’re right for sure. Also a good point about the people suffering around us. It’s very easy to overlook a lot of stuff because we’re just so used to hearing it/seeing it on tv/getting letters about it, etc.

  5. Wow! Very thought provoking question! I am going to have to ponder this some more …

  6. I don’t think I’d go. All I’d be doing is thinking of all the devastation. Especially the children. As for pumping money back in there to help – giving money directly to people who are helping there is better mileage for encouraging workers there & the people suffering. But, I don’t slight anyone if they are on vacation there. There are all kinds of vacations, after all. Ones where our eyes are opened to some important things..

    • You are right. It would be hard not to think of the devastation. I do like the distinction you make though. You wouldn’t personally go, but you wouldn’t slight anyone for going. Thanks for commenting!

  7. Personally I would still go on vacation there. I do believe that if they pulled out the cruise ship stops completely that they are only making the country suffer more. Some of the natives RELY on what they sell as a living. Remember when we stopped on our honeymoon there for our cruise, and we bought a painting?! Just imagine if that part of the island was closed. Where would all the vedors go to try and sell their goods?
    I also think it would be good for people on that ship to be put in an uncomfortable situation. How much more would it make them think about the devastation? If they pass the ports it’s like they are even more numb to it. I personally would like to become un-numb! I want and need to be woken up to the suffering around us because like it has been said, we have SO much and some of us live like we are on vacation 24-7 compared to the rest of the world.
    If you’re a Christian and go on the cruise, what a wonderful opportunity to do some prayer walking and service and maybe even extra tipping to the people you encounter there.
    Just a few thoughts I had. Love you sweetie!

    • I think we could all use some uncomfortable situations. It’s so easy to forget the suffering of so many around the world. I guess that’s why mission trips are such a wake up call to some people. I do remember us going there…although I wonder if I would haggle like we did before? I forgot how much we got the painting for, but saving a couple of bucks seems less worth it now! And as always, thanks for commenting my sweet!

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