ANA Exclusive interview with Mr Eugenio Neves, Tourism Director of Sao Tome and Principe

Mr Eugenio Neves, General Director of Tourism and Hospitality of Sao Tomé and Principe/Photo Credit: ANA/Niels

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Lisbon, Portugal, 04.March, 2024

It is one of Africa’s least visited countries but at the same time it was also chosen – by Lonely Planet – as one of the top destinations to visit in 2019 – Sao Tome and Principe.

AfricaNewsAnalysis’ (ANA) Travel Editor Niels Bartels, wanted to find out more about the second-smallest African country while visiting the “ Bolsa de Turismo“ trade fair in Lisbon and interviewed the General Director of Tourism and Hospitality of Sao Tomé and Principe, Mr Eugenio Neves.

Niels: How can visitors best explore Sao Tomé and Principe ?

Eugenio Neves: What makes Sao Tomé and Principe interesting is for sure the gastronomy, the nature and the people. And it will be very interesting for visitors to see the cocoa plantation.

Niels: What does the typical tourist visiting Sao Tome and Principe look like?

Eugenio: Most of our clients are individual visitors. We don’t have families here. The ones who come to Sao Tomé and Principe love adventure!

Niels: What do you think, why do they travel to Sao Tomé ?

Eugenio: Because nobody knows our country. They are curious and adventurous.

Niels: Another important topic is Ecotourism. What do you do in Ecotourism ?

Eugenio: I was once the president of a platform of Ecotourism in Sao Tomé. For me, Ecotourism is very important because that’s the tourism we want to develop in our country. The teachers in school here develop some ideas about Ecotourism together with their students.

Niels: How has tourism in Sao Tomé developed during the last years?

Eugenio: It has grown step by step. We now have more tourism in Sao Tomé. Last year we had about 35,000 tourists. Our next goal is to reach 50,000. We want to grow day by day and year by year. I think tourism is a very good industry for Sao Tomé. We just have to organise our country because tourism is very important for the economy in our country.

Niels: How much of your GDP is tourism ?

Eugenio: That’s the problem we have in Sao Tomé: we are not very sure about the percentage of tourism in our economy. We only consider hotels and restaurants in tourism. So aviation and other services are not included in the numbers. However, we have to promote our country as much as possible because not many people know our country.

Niels: Thanks for the interview