Haiti has long been associated with government corruption and political instability, having endured 32 coups in its 209-year history.
Deforestation and land erosion have had devastating effects on the economy. According to Wikipedia, the amount of forested land dropped from 60 per cent of the total land mass in 1923 to just two per cent in 2006. The roots of deforestation can be traced to the 1804 slave revolution, which led to the Haiti's independence from France. As a condition of granting sovereignty and to enable trade between countries, Haiti was asked to repay France 90 million francs for its lost territory and resources, the equivalent of $21.7 billion. Much of that debt was serviced by shipping trees to France.
Droughts, floods and unsustainable agricultural practices continued to erode productive soil and left much of the land unsuitable for farming. Aside from international aid, the social system is virtually non-existent and people who can't afford food depend on vegetables that grow abundantly in the cool mountainous regions or fruit that thrives in the hot lowland areas.
Haiti covers 27,750 square kilometres on the western part of Hispaniola Island, separated by a mountain range from the larger Dominican Republic. Both countries have about 10 million people but the Dominican Republic has nearly twice the area, with 48,000 sq km.
The 2010 earthquake, a succession of hurricanes that destroyed sandy beaches, and a decades-long history of high taxes imposed on tourism-related businesses have virtually wiped out Haiti's tourist industry. While the capital Port-Au-Prince has rebuilt some of its tourist accommodations, there is only one major hotel in Carrefour, a city of about 450,000.
Although Air Transat began offering regular flights from Montreal to Port-Au-Prince starting in January, few Canadian tourists go to Haiti. By comparison, the Dominican Republic is second only to Puerto Rico as the most visited Caribbean country and has the second-largest economy in Central America.