São Tomé & Príncipe
Correspondents/contributorsLuís Manuel Beirão has a tourist agency, Navetur-Equatour, in the democratic republic of São Tomé and Príncipe in West Africa. I must admit that I never imagined myself working with tourism. Nevertheless, here I am, for about 5 years now, and it is a continuous challenge.
My country is very poor and very dependent on foreign aid. On the other hand, my country is very rich in natural and cultural resources, and does not need any McDonalds or Hiltons :
Over the years, I have started to believe in tourism as a way to make my country gain true independence. If we can help locals to understand that the Santomean culture is unique, that the rain forest here has plants and animals you will find no other place in the world, that the old colonial architecture should be treasured and not substituted by modern concrete etc. etc. if that can happen, then not only will São Tomé and Príncipe remain a unique destination, it will also help the nation to remember it's roots and maintain it's characteristics while making money !
We are currently working hard to help projects like rural tourism in old plantation houses, trekking in the natural park, support of cultural groups and others. But please, bet not mistaken : By buying our services you are not donating development aid : You are simply buying services, from equals to equals, but in your choice as a consumer lies the power to define the market.
Navetur-Equatour, Shipping and Tourism