Clinton Bush Haiti Fund invests in Port au Prince hotel, hospitality academy

PORT AU PRINCE The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is investing US$2 million to complete construction on a major hotel project in Haiti that was abruptly halted following the devastating 2010 earthquake.

In addition to its equity investment, the fund will grant US$100,000 to create a training facility for the hospitality industry that will be available to all Haitians looking for employment in this sector. Both the 130-key Oasis Hotel and the affiliated training facility will be managed by Occidental Hotels and Resorts.

Oasis Hotel was fully funded and construction was well under way prior to the quake. While the building itself remains structurally sound, work on the project ceased when several of the original Haitian shareholders perished, while others were unable to meet their investment commitments after suffering severe financial losses.

“The Oasis Hotel symbolizes Haiti ‘building back better,’ and sends a message to the world that Haiti is open for business,” says Paul Altidor, vice president of programs and investments for Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. “For Haiti’s recovery to be sustainable, it must attract investors, businesses and donors, all of whom will need a business-class, seismically-safe hotel.” In addition to sleeping rooms, Oasis will have significant meeting space and other business amenities.

Fewer than 100 guestrooms survived the quake in Port-au-Prince, and today Haiti has a critical shortage of hotel space that meets even the most basic standards for business travelers.

In mid-2010, International Finance Corp.—the private sector arm of the World Bank Group—provided US$7.5 million in financing to restart construction of the hotel, which has a total cost of US$29 million, but more funding was needed. Clinton Bush Haiti Fund’s equity investment catalyzed new funding sources for the project, encouraging large investments from other groups that closed the funding gap.