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A unique tourism offer in Africa

Article - September 19, 2012
Equatorial Guinea's vast natural resources and modernizing cities, coupled with its Spanish influence, make tourism a promising sector
THE SANTA ISABEL CATHEDRAL IS ONE OF MALABO'S LANDMARKS, WITH ITS STUNNING SPANISH GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE
With the striking natural beauty of the tropical islands and the quaint Spanish colonial architecture in its cities, the African coastal nation of Equatorial Guinea has a tourism sector with potential for tremendous growth.

A recent boom in infrastructure and construction in the country, especially within the main cities of Bata and Malabo, contributes to the major improvements in airports, ports, and roads.

“It is amazing when you arrive in Malabo for the first time. The country is really booming with construction and projects everywhere,” says Vincent Masvidal, Managing Director of Ibis Bata Hotel, the newest hotel in the country’s largest city, Bata.

Apart from Ibis, Equatorial Guinea boasts a wide variety of well-known hotel franchises in including Hilton and Sofitel, accommodation often used for business trips, built supporting the government’s initiative for tourism development in its cities.

Malabo, a port city located on the northern tip of the Bioko Island, is the nation’s capital and has attractions such as its Spanish colonial architecture including its cathedral in Independence Plaza, the heart of the city.

A modern conference center city just outside of Malabo, Sipopo, was inaugurated on June 5th, 2011, built to host large-scale international events.

Bata, a costal city on the mainland, has vibrant nightlife and a colorful market. Its diverse cuisine is a fusion of African and European influences.

Besides the cities, the country’s biggest assets for tourism are its natural resources, having one of the most diverse landscapes in Africa. The government has taken great strides at protecting the wildlife, aware of its potential, conserving 20% of its natural areas both on the mainland and off the coast.

Within its wide network of islands, the pristine and tropical Annobon offers virgin beaches and lush forests with easy access to one of the best airports in the country. Roughly six square miles and 360 miles from the continental coast, Annobon is on an extinct volcano with a central crater lake called Lago a Pot.

The island of Corisco parallels the beauty of Annobon with white sandy beaches and green mountains, dubbed both “the island of love” and the “Tahiti of Africa”.

These rich natural resources and booming infrastructure in Equatorial Guinea are the first steps toward the budding tourism industry.

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