The Caribbean island of Haiti is to get its first airport hotel, a much-needed boost to the local economy and tourism infrastructure less than a year after the earthquake which devastated the country.

The $33 million project will break ground later this year close to the Port-au-Prince’s Toussaint L’Ouverture International Airport.

The 240-room property will be built over 18 months by Argentinean entrepreneur Rolando Gonzalez-Bunster and the Haiti-based WIN Group.

The building will offer food and beverage outlets, a work-out center, swimming pool, spa facilities and lounges, designed with “a distinct Creole feel.”

Mainstream tourism to Haiti came to a virtual standstill following the earthquake on January 12, which destroyed much of Port-au-Prince, including half of its hotel rooms, and closed the main airport to commercial flights.

Since then, rebuilding has started, with hotels seen as vital to improving the business infrastructure needed to support a long-term recovery.

Reports suggest that the Oasis Hotel, which was already under construction but badly damaged when the earthquake hit, will be the first newly built post-quake hotel if it opens as planned in November 2011.

Former US President Bill Clinton, the UN Special Envoy to Haiti, said that “an adequate network of hotels is crucial to the country, and this venture is one example that the numerous facets needed to rebuild Port Au Prince are slowly getting under way.”

Source: AFPrelaxnews