Principe using tourism to project enviroment
| Updated Jul 07, 2018 at 8:48am
As countries strive to fight environmental degradation, the Island nation of Sao Tome and Principe has turned to Tourism to achieve this feat.
The HBD Group is spearheading this, and together with government, it has launched a two-pronged attack to fight degradation on land and in the sea while using tourism as the economic backbone.
The General Manager of the HBD Group, Manuel Barbosa, says the company has invested in four lodges, three in Principe and one in Sao Tome. It has a workforce of six hundred employees, more than 90 percent of whom are local.
In Principe, which has a population of seven thousand, the group says the community is involved in its eco-friendly tourism project.
The local community is involved in ridding the island of plastics which harm their livelihoods as farmers and fishermen. They are encouraged to collect plastic bottles which they exchange for metal water bottles.
Water fountains have been provided across the island to encourage people to drink from them instead of buying bottled water.
Fifty tonnes of plastic have been collected within two years and HBD has set up a recycling plant to turn the plastic into blocks for the construction sector.
Marine conservation has seen a boost with the elimination of plastic waste.
Fishermen who previously hunted sea turtles are now conservationists as they guide tourists to watch turtles and whales in their natural habitat.
The island is home to a number of bird species such as parrots, the weaver bird and the king fisher. Indeed, one attraction of Principe is its biosphere or nature trails.
Local women have formed co-operatives and are using glass bottles to produce jewelry. They also produce hand-made chocolate, coconut oil, muesli, a variety of jams, beauty products and toiletries.
Tourists to Principe have a chance to eat the produce, use the products and participate in some of these activities.
Principe is the smaller of the twin islands of Sao Tome and Principe located off the Coast of West Africa in the Gulf of Guinea.
HBD has three lodges in Principe and one in Sao Tome.
Omali Lodge is one and a half kilometers from the international airport in Sao Tome.
The three lodges in Principe are Bom Bom, Roҫa and Praia.
Bom Bom is on an islet hidden amongst the tropical forest.
Roҫa is located in a restored cocoa plantation house and Sundy Praia, consisting of fifteen tented villas is situated in the lush tropical forest.
The Tented villas of Sundy Praia have been designated by the National Geographic Channel as part of the Unique Lodges of the World.
One of the major towns in Principe, Sundy, is also the place where Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was proved by Sir Arthur Eddington on May 29, 1919.
2019 therefore marks the centenary and Principe is sure to play a key role in the commemorations and celebrations.
Attached audio is an Interview with Manuel Barbosa