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Best Western opens hotel in impoverished Haiti

Updated at: 03/28/2013 5:39 PM
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(AP) PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - A U.S. hotel chain opened a hotel in Haiti on Thursday for the first time in 15 years.

Best Western International has completed construction on a $15 million, seven-story hotel that features 106 guest rooms and several suites.

The towering facility is located in the hillside district of Petionville and is targeted at the business traveler.

The new hotel is part of a larger hotel boom in Haiti that has taken hold since the earthquake in 2010 destroyed thousands of buildings.

To date, developers are building or planning at least seven hotels and many hope that the businesses will create thousands of jobs in a country where unemployment hovers around 60 percent. Together, the projects add up to more than a $100 million investment.

In December, the Royal Oasis, run by Spanish firm Occidental Hotel & Resorts, opened as an upscale hotel a few blocks from the Best Western Premier now stands. The Marriott International, also in December, began construction on a $45 million hotel that’s scheduled to open in 2015.

Even before the earthquake, which officials say destroyed more than 800 hotel rooms, it was difficult to find hotels in Haiti that met international standards. Those that did were often filled with diplomats and humanitarian workers.

The last U.S. hotel chain to run a hotel in Haiti was the Holiday Inn. It closed in 1998 because of political instability.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)