Meanwhile, the project went from $19 million to $35 million after more rooms were added and local construction firm Arcotec Haiti reinforced the hotel shell and rebuilt the quake-damaged restaurant.
The enormity of the project has not been lost on government officials here. President Michel Martelly held it “as a symbol of the new Haiti,” and tourism and commerce ministers touted it as representative of where Haiti wants to go with investors and image.
“The Oasis sends a very clear message that first and foremost the Haitian private sector is investing at home,” said Tourism Minister Stephanie Balmir Villedrouin.
Villedrouin said Haiti will inaugurate 1,200 additional hotel rooms next year as part of 11 hotel projects totaling $161 milllion that a government commission recently approved. The additions are of what was wiped out in the quake. Also, two other international hotel brands — both within walking distance of the Oasis — will open hotels here. The 106-room Best Western is nearly completed and a new El Rancho, operated by the Spanish hotel chain NH Hotels, has set a February opening date. The hotel will start with 72 rooms and 13 apartments and an additional 50 rooms will soon follow, said investor Reginald Boulos.
Also on the horizon are a Comfort Suites and Marriott, which is expected to break ground on its hotel near downtown Port-au-Prince next week. Other local family-owned hotels are also rebuilding or expanding.
As for the Oasis, Philippe St. Cyr, the executive director of the Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce said while it “has certainly created a buzz in the tourism industry, it has raised the bar on what to do. Hopefully, this will encourage investors to go and create other projects.”