- The first charter flight to São Tomé was launched yesterday, opening new avenues to boost tourism flows into the country.
The venture, coming through concerted efforts of multi-stakeholders in tourism industry, brings in a 200 seater flight between Lisbon and São Tomé, with a potential of bringing up to 2000 tourists in the country during its 14 planned flights in the next three pilot months.
The launch flight attracted a high 79 per cent occupancy with 150 passengers checked into the 190 seater Boeing flight B757. The charter will be an expansion of services into country, with one of the leading tourism players in the country having build first ever new five star accommodation facility to cater for growing tourism needs in Sao Tome & Principe.
São Tomé & Principe boasts of some of Africa's most exotic tourism flair, from vast isolated beaches, bird-life and a mixture of marine tourism as well as places of divine interest both inland and in the ocean waters.
São Tomé and Principe is Africa's smallest state and situated in the gulf of Guinea in western Africa. The two main islands are a part of a mountain range consisting of none active volcanoes.
São Tomé and Principe was discovered and colonized by Portugal in the late 15th century. The Portuguese started with the use of slave labor to grow sugar on the islands and in the mid 1500´s it was Africa's foremost exporter of sugar. In the 19th century sugar was replaced by cacao and coffee plantations owned by large Portuguese companies and by 1908 Sao Tome had become the world's largest producer of cacao which still is the country's most important crop.
Even if Portugal officially abolished slavery in 1876, the rocas system continued to abuse workforce well into the 20th century, leading to an outbreak of riots in 1953 "the Batepa Massacre", where many workers were killed in clash with their Portuguese rulers.
When the Portuguese dictator Marcello Caetano was overthrown in the Carnation revolution in 1974, Portugal was committed to dissolve its overseas colonies and the São Toméan party MLSTP (Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe) negotiated with the Portuguese authority and worked out an agreement for the transfer of sovereignty. São Tomé and Principe achieved independence on July 12, 1975.
In 1991 São Tomé and Principe held its first multi party election and have held regularly and fair elections ever since, but its democracy hit a rock when country's opposition cast a vote of no confidence to government due to lack of transparency, a week ago with a possible formation of a government of national unity or holding of fresh election.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.