The Director General for Tourism Regulations and Statistics has received a commission of experts from the UNDP, regarding Tourism and the Conservation of Protected Areas.
The Director General for Tourism Regulations and Statistics, Josue Esono EdA� Corredor, received a delegation from the UNDP, led by the international expert, Omer Ntougou, who arrived on the morning of 3rd September at the headquarters of the Ministry for Culture, Tourism and Craft Promotion, on his promotional tour for the project for which he is seeking self-financing for the protected areas within the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
The project, which involves chiefs from Forests and Finance, together with the agencies INCOMA and INDEFOR, has made available two UNDP experts -among them Demetrio Bocuma MeAe-, in order to seek the viability of the plan, whose sustainment will be based on ecotourism.
Along those lines, and with the initiatives from the new ministerial team led by Rufino Ndong Esono, the UNDP team aims to begin pilot schemes in at least two protected areas, in order for these to serve as a model for other areas with the potential for exploitation, and in which the Department for Tourism has high expectations, in order to provide a top quality tourist experience, both for national and foreign visitors.
Although certain difficulties on a financial and administrative level are recognised, the meeting involved various alternatives for the management of these areas, among which was the creation of a foundation to manage the financing of the areas, with INDEFOR would be in charge of management and maintenance, while new opportunities for private investors for exploitation under agreement with the Ministry of Tourism are opened.
African ecotourism, which has its benchmark in the Virunga Park (Democratic Republic of Congo, the first Protected Area in Africa which has a population of Silverback Gorillas as its main attraction), has managed to make 20% of its protected areas sustainable, chiefly through tourism. Taking into account the modern infrastructures in our country, it should be more than possible to make these protected areas self-sufficient. These areas include the Gran Caldera of Luba, Monte Alen, or the beaches located next to the the town of Ureka, which now has baseline established in 2010 for sustainability and management.
In any case, the project has the support of the Director for Tourism Regulations and Statistics, which promised to work together with the UNDP commission, in order to bring about significant changes which will in tum lead to better conservation of natural environments, while promoting responsible tourism.
Source: Equatorial Guinea Press and Information Office