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From Biodiversity
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Interview: Guillermina Mekuy Mba Obono
EGVistas MagazineEGVistas Magazine

Delegate Minister of Culture and Tourism, Guillermina Mekuy Mba Obono (Photo: Sam Tressler)Equatorial Guinea is a beautiful country. Covered in lush tropical forests and blessed with a wide array of fauna and flora, it is truly a tropical paradise. The main island of Bioko and the secondary island of Annobon, 400 miles to the southwest, were created by volcanic eruptions eons ago that formed breathtaking topographical formations. The small island of Corisco, not far off the coast of Gabon, with its white beaches and graceful palms, could have been transplanted from the Caribbean.

National parks house rare species, especially on Bioko, home to the drill monkey and other uncommon or scarce wildlife. The black volcanic sands of Bioko also serve as the nesting site for four species of sea turtles. On the mainland, called Rio Muni, gorillas live in the mists of the Monte Alén National Park, while elephants and many other typical African animals make the forests of Rio Muni their home.

So far, there has been little to no tourism industry in Equatorial Guinea. Outside of travel for conferences and business, the only tourists have been the intrepid adventurers who thrill at exploring the remotest corners of the earth. This is about to change. One of the priority sectors targeted for diversification of the economy, away from its dependence on hydrocarbons, is tourism.

Heading the government effort to develop the tourism sector is Delegate Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mrs. Guillermina Mekuy Mba Obono. During a recent interview with Vistas, conducted at her office in Bata, the minister outlined the government’s plans to develop the tourism industry. Highlights follow.

A country of magnificent rainforests.The potential
Equatorial Guinea is a very beautiful country. We have wonderful wildlife with many different animal species that all tourists can experience and learn about. We also have facilities for conferences and businesses that come here. The Sipopo complex, outside Malabo, was built to hold conferences and special meetings. This is especially important to facilitate cooperation among nations, as in the upcoming African Union summit, which we are hosting for Benin, which lacks such facilities. In addition we have built a number of luxury shops, restaurants, and even a theater that will be available for delegates to these meetings, so they can relax and enjoy themselves on the sidelines of the meetings. All these possibilities are part of our significant potential to accommodate tourists in our country.

The infrastructure that has been developed under the first phase of the
Horizon 2020 plan

We now have new highways and quality turnpikes to facilitate travel throughout the country. Visitors will find a country that is connected for easy travel from one place to another. We also have built five new regional airports. In addition, we have new hotels, like Sofitel, Ibis, and Hilton as well as hotels in the interior of the country, such as the one in Mongomo. A new hotel is planned for Oyala, projected to have some 500 rooms. The new Basilica in Mongomo is a good example of modern architecture existing alongside our traditional African heritage. I believe all these elements represent a sufficient commitment on our part to offer tourists an opportunity to experience our amazing natural beauty and to enjoy a welcoming, friendly stay in our country.

World-class conference facilities.Development plans
Our first and foremost objective is to create a plan or a blueprint to determine how best to establish priorities and the policies to pursue. We have published a report highlighting how we can make use of our advantages and facilities for ecotourism. One important question for us is how best to present our cultural advantages and attractions to business visitors once they have completed their work, so they might stay longer in the country.

Capacity building
We are also working to increase training for people to work in the tourist trades through establishing specialized schools for that purpose. Right now we have some 500 students enrolled in the hospitality industry school in Mongomo, and others training at the hotel chains who are working in our country. Training is another significant aspect of our blueprint for developing tourism in Equatorial Guinea.

Investment opportunities
First of all, this country is open to investors. However, we are focused on quality tourism, a tourism that is open for conferences or congresses, for investors and businesspeople to come to enjoy our hotels and restaurants, golf courses, and for certain sports events related to competitions like Formula 1 racing or aquatic events, all of which we want to develop. People can come here and enjoy our wildlife and natural beauty, and even live with it. I fully believe that investors who are interested in developing these kinds of tourist activities will find many profitable opportunities.

Liberty Tower in Bata.This is a very stable country politically, and it is secure for investors. Stability is essential for investors to earn a profitable return on their investment. They will also find people willing to work. There are very few risks here, and the government is helping to improve investment procedures. The government recently held a conference on how to diversify the economy and make it easier for investors to participate.

It is especially important for investors to come in person to see for themselves what this country is all about and what the people are like, because accounts published abroad are often inaccurate. It is often said that Equatorial Guinea is a Latin country in the heart of Africa.

Tourist visas
We are also actively pursuing the implementation of tourist visas. Currently only American citizens do not need a visa to visit Equatorial Guinea. We have the laws on the books for a tourist visa regime, but we are now working on its implementation so that other nationalities can visit more easily.

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EG Vistas Malabo Guide

EG Vistas Magazine

EGVistas Magazine summer 2014
Summer 2014

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Summer 2014 Articles

Building for the Future
Interview NJ Ayuk:
An Improving Business Climate Brings Horizon 2020 Goals Closer
Return for Investment
Higher Education Gets a Major Boost
CANIGE: First-Class Schooling
La Paz: World-Class Healthcare at
Reasonable Rates
A Successful US-EG Collaboration to Protect Bioko's Wildlife
Drexel's Man in Malabo
Interview Cathy Krajicek:
Marathon's Investment in Equatorial Guinea
Iconic Cathedral of Malabo Gets a Facelift
A Museum of Modern Art
Miss Yuma: A Voice to Remember

Interview Guillermina Mekuy
Mba Obono:

From Biodiversity to Business Travel

New Vaccine Could Rid Bioko of Malaria
by 2020
Getting There
Staying There
Maps of Malabo
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