Airline problems lead to fewer tourists visiting Sao Tome and Principe in 2006

9 April 2007

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 9 April – Sao Tome and Principe received 9,354 tourists in 2006, an 11 percent fall year on year, the Sao Tome and Principe Tourism director, Hugo Menezes said Friday.

Speaking to Macauhub, Menezes said that the fall in the number of tourists had mainly been due to “airline disturbances” occurring at the end of 2006, following the suspension of two flights per week by Air Luxor, one of the airlines linking the Sao Tome capital to Europe.

Along with visitors becoming discouraged by cancelled flights, Menezes said that the lack of promotion of its tourist services at international tourism fairs, as well as the archipelago’s lack of hotel infrastructure were behind the decrease in visitors.

Menezes said that of the 9,354 tourists that visited in 2006, Portugal accounted for 4,421, followed by France with 989, Angola with 722, Germany with 432 and Cape Verde with 343, these were followed by Spain, Gabon, Cameroon, Brazil and Nigeria.

In 2005, the list of foreign visitors was led by Portugal with 5,469 tourists, followed by France with 1,242, Angola 552 and Nigeria with 473.

For 2007, the tourism director expected a “considerable” rise of almost 80 percent in the number of tourists due to the launch of new air routes, new tourist facilities, as well as the “drastic” reduction of malaria on the archipelago.

In May 2006, the government of Sao Tome and Principe, headed by Tomé Vera Cruz, forecast that by 2010 it would net over US$22 million with an expected 25,000 tourists per year as part of a strategic plan to develop the sector. (macauhub)