Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Haitian Nomad
Meet The Haitian-American Man Who Built A Thriving Travel Agency
Founded in 2017 by Richard Cantave, the Haitian Nomad is a Haitian-American-Owned travel agency that offers travel experiences with a Haitian touch around the world. This Haitian-born entrepreneur from Dover, Delaware organizes and curates travels to Haiti and other places incorporating history, culture, sense of purpose and fun. Very popular among the Black community in Dover and other places in the US, this Haitian American travel agency has traveled to 40 countries and taken over 3,000 people abroad since its start six years ago.
In an interview with Travel Noire, Cantave talked about his story as a CEO of a Haitian Nomad.
Travel Noire - What inspired you to launch this Haitian American travel agency?
Richard Cantave – The story of our company is always interesting to tell as people usually think we purposely chose to launch a travel company but in reality, a friend reached out asking my opinion on a location to host a Haitian-food-themed party between New York and Miami; I suggested they just do it at my house in Haiti—next thing you know, 40 people booked tickets to Haiti and I (with no experience) was in charge of putting everything together—from transportation, hotels, itinerary etc. After a successful trip in Haiti and many people asking when the next one would be, I decided to replicate that success in places I knew very well: Cuba & a New Year’s trip to Cambodia. The Haitian Nomad brand was born and we started building a solid loyal customer base.
TN - What does your travel agency offer?
Richard Cantave – We hosted curated group trips on which we take care of everything from the time our guests arrive at the destination to the moment they depart. We want guests to leave all the planning to us to maximize their time enjoying the cultural experiences, the amazing spa relaxation, the incredible world heritage sites we visit and more.
We plan private group trips for guests who want to celebrate a birthday, family trip or just friends who want to get together and have a great time; this allows us to curate the trip based on their specific interests and requirements.
We can also plan solo itineraries for those already booked to visit a destination and who want to take advantage of our extensive knowledge and experience to connect with local guides/companies at destinations worldwide.
TN - What makes your company stand out from others?
Richard Cantave – While there are many other travel companies out there, I pride myself on the level of service we deliver to our guests as reflected in our reviews and the incredibly high rate of return customers. As for our offerings, unlike many other companies, our guests enjoy up to 12 months of interest-free installment payments to help make even our higher-tier trips a lot more affordable for everyone, we offer a wide range of trips from Ultra-Luxe trips like the South of France where you’re tasting some of the finest wines in the world, to trips like our Maldives trip that debunk the idea that certain destinations are only for honeymooners as we offer them as a pure relaxation and rejuvenation experience to rest.
Whenever we visit all these communities around the world, we don’t use the big names in the tourist industry that pay low wages to the locals and the bulk of their revenue is kept in western countries; we primarily hire locals directly and fuel their economy but in addition to this, we sometimes have left-over tips that we invest in aspiring entrepreneurs in countries around the world through an organization called Kiva to help them bring their dreams to life.
TN- How many people have used your services so far?
Richard Cantave – I’ve been doing this for 6 years now and although I couldn’t give an exact count on the number of people who have joined us on trips around the world, we have on average 14-16 people on each trip and I can comfortably say that we’ve had more than 3,000 people join us in destinations around the world.
TN - How many states/countries your company takes clients to?
Richard Cantave –New Orleans is the only domestic trip we’ve hosted as we almost exclusively do international trips but we’re working on offering some domestic destinations in the near future. We have about 40 countries in our list of hosted countries so far but thanks to our wide network of in-country partners, we can easily host in any country our clients are interested in.
TN - What is the most popular destination?
Richard Cantave – Every year we see a shift in demand when it comes to our most popular destinations; while this year Bali was one of the most requested trips and as a result, we had to do 3 trips, our sold-out St. Tropez (South of France) and Greece Luxury trips for next year remain some of our most sought after. Morocco however is a signature trip we offer every year and is always sold out.
TN - Can you feel the support from the Black community?
Richard Cantave – Without the Black community, we wouldn’t exist today. We’ve been blessed with the amount of support we’ve received over the last 6 years, even though the pandemic when big companies were sounding the alert, we were comfortably preparing for the post-covid days as the majority of our guests chose to credit their payments to future trips.
TN - What have been your achievements so far?
Richard Cantave -To me, my biggest achievements have been the number of people’s lives we’ve been able to change through our passion for traveling; from the number of people we’ve brought to the motherland in Africa where their ancestors passed through doors of No return to all the people we’ve brought to Haiti to see for themselves the land of Freedom that is usually negatively portrayed in the media. A lot of Haitian-Americans are discouraged by parents/people who haven’t been to Haiti at all or for long periods and thanks to us, we’re able to make those dreams come true and invalidate those fears that people instill in them.
TN - What do you like most about being a Haitian American entrepreneur in this sector?
Richard Cantave -The most beautiful thing about being a Black Haitian entrepreneur in this sector is being in a position to both inspire other young black Haitian entrepreneurs and also be able to directly help my people. I’ll never forget the WhatsApp voice note I received from one of our drivers in Haiti thanking me for helping him pay off his van through the many years we’ve worked together but also helping him put an actual roof over his house in place of a tarp.
TN - What are your plans for the future?
Richard Cantave -We just hired 7 ambassadors to help take the brand to new heights, being able to host multiple trips to different destinations to respond to our guests’ needs but one of the things we’re currently working on is starting with our trip to Morocco staying at the Royal Mansour —the King of Morocco’s hotel, we’ll be offering experiences where some guests will have activities based on personal preferences vs the usual group activities for everyone. For example, one of the guests on this trip was passionate about desserts so we’ll set her up for a baking workshop in the Palace’s kitchen with the executive chef to learn the art of low-sugar patisserie.
TN - How can people find you?
Richard Cantave – People can find our trips directly on our website at www.haitiannomad.NET and can find us on all social media platforms as @haitiannomad & @haitiannomadtrips. Our trips usually sell out quickly so it’s important to subscribe to our email list on our website to get trip opening alerts.