Haiti’s Minister of the Interior, Thierry Mayard-Paul, is hoping for a cruise milestone, the first ship to call at Port-au-Prince in a quarter century.
Mayard-Paul met last week with officials of a Christian missionary group, Praisefest Ministries, pushing for the group’s Cruise with a Cause to bring volunteers to the Haitian capital in 2013. Port-au-Prince is still recovering from a devastating January 2010 earthquake.
Cruise with a Cause has done other missions combining tourism and volunteer work to places including Jamaica.
“Haiti is at a turning point as a nation,” Maynard-Paul told church leaders attending a Praisefest retreat in Alabama,according to a press release. He added a cruise ship visit would help in “breathing new life” into Haiti’s tourism sector.
Praisefest officials said they are looking to visit Haiti on a 4,000-passenger ship in 2013, but did not name the ship nor announce the dates.
On the Cruise with a Cause website, Praisefest indicates the Bill Clinton Foundation also is involved in the discussion.
Praisefest’s spring 2011 Cruise with a Cause to Jamaica was on the 2,642-passenger Carnival Destiny.
Maynard-Paul said passengers on the cruise to Port-au-Prince would participate in projects that include building homes, repairing schools and installing water purification systems.
“When you sail into Port-au-Prince, my friends, you will be making history,” the minister told the Praisefest gathering.
Maynard-Paul said the government of Haiti had made the project a priority and is working to evaluate and prepare the port in the capital city for a cruise ship’s arrival.