This post was submitted by Francois Jean-Enard, a creative mind, social media geek, video producer, guest blogger, foodie, former military cadet, marketing student for life and leader in training.
I was born in the United States, brought to Haiti at the age of four. I lived and was educated in Haiti until the age of 13, then left after 7th grade. I continued my 8th grade studies in the US, and was sent back to Haiti in the middle of 9th grade. I would later go back to the US in 11th grade.
After earning my high school diploma, as a typical obedient haitian kid, I started taking classes in pre-law at my local community college. Law being a “forced” choice of my parents, I eventually moved out and transferred to a private regionally accredited art university to study marketing. In 2009, I founded my company King Henri Estate, a royal themed tour guide service focused on catering to notable media personalities & celebrities like Leon Logothetis, Paul Clammer and Miss Universe contestants. Having listened religiously to the radio show of renown Haitian economist, Kesner Pharell, over the years, I was convinced there were more than enough opportunities for me in my homeland.
I moved back to Haiti two years after the earthquake at a point when I felt it was time to go back home and be part of the reconstruction crew, figuratively speaking . I was also greatly influenced to go home by the work of Haiti Tourism, Inc. CEO/Founder, Davidson.
Upon my arrival, I joined the local tourism office by offering social media services pro bono. Using my and talent as a club/party promoter and 4 language skills, I volunteered as an event coordinator and interpreter for the office. I developed a social media presence for the office.
Six moths later, I had the great honor of being invited to join the private cabinet of Prime Minister Lamothe as a communication consultant. I am a part time consultant on a retainer basis by a global hospitality management brand. Haiti is where my heart is, it’s where I intend to make my first 50 million gourdes, not USD or Euros. I love to volunteer and considering the fact that I work around the clock, the way to satisfy my desire is to offer pro bono social media services to a limited number of NGOs, social government agencies.
So today I live and work in Haiti in the Turgeau neighborhood of Port au Prince. It’s actually where the new Marriott is being built.
I got involved in Haitian tourism after high school by tweeting and posting Facebook pictures about the Sans Souci Palace & the Citadel, participating in twitter chats like Travel Talk On Tuesday #TTOT, #beachthursday. It was then I realized the power of social media marketing can be effectively applied in Haiti to allow the government to capitalize on the highly profitable tourism market of the Caribbean. It is my firm belief tourism will generate considerable jobs, businesses and development tools for Haiti.
My involvement in Haitian tourism allows me to propel “DESTINATION HAITI” as the smarter choice than any other vacation spot to the diaspora, our Haitian diaspora community who has been connected financially but culturally/physically distant with the mother land. I acquired the franchises of Miss Tourism Queen Int’l & Miss Earth for Haiti.
My ultimate goal is to entice a burning desire from the Diaspora to visit home frequently. Haiti Tourism, Inc. and my firm partnered for the common goal of working jointly to boost each other’s efforts. Currently, Haiti is estimated to have 400,000 annual visitors. With the diaspora, it will increase tenfold.
I spend a lot of time educating people about the richness and beauty of Haiti. Please check out this article I wrote about “The Kingdom of Haiti” and learn a bit of history and see some reasons to come visit! http://blog.whereivebeen.com/2011/10/did-you-know-about-kingdom-of-haiti.html