By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) -- Haiti's prime minister, Laurent Lamothe, announced on Monday that an agreement has been reached between the Haitian government and the Royal Caribbean Cruise lines to add two dollars on the fee paid by each tourist visiting the northern Labadie seaside resort to fund social projects benefiting the local community.
Lamothe said the additional fee will help fund social and economic projects in the benefit of the local population living in the Labadie (also Labadee) village, outside the Caribbean country's second largest city, Cap-Haitien, in the northern region.
Lamothe said he has met with Royal Caribbean's CEO, Adam Goldstein, and they have concluded that the company will pay US$12 per visitor instead of the US$10 paid so far. The agreement will take effect in March 2015.
"We will invest the money in improving the Village environment, in building schools and health centers for the Labadie village population," Lamothe told the Haitian-Caribbean News Network (HCNN).
"We want to make sure the local population can directly benefit from the big cruise ships they see coming to their village," explained Lamothe.
About 600,000 cruise passengers visited the Labadie site in 2013.
The Haitian prime minister said he urged Royal Caribbean to also invite cruise passengers to visit a number of tourist sites in surrounding areas, such as the Sans Souci Palace at Milot, and the Citadelle, a UNESCO world heritage fortress built nearly two centuries ago, near Cap-Haitien.
Haitian authorities also announced a series of measures to increase security and set up or repair basic infrastructure in targeted areas to facilitate the excursion which will be offered to visitors.