Interview with Maria Nchama Nzoho

Director General of the International Tourism Fair of Central Africa (FITAC)

Maria Nchama Nzoho

Director General of the International Tourism Fair of Central Africa (FITAC)

One of the young women entrepreneurs in Equatorial Guinea, Maria Nchama Nzoho, general director of the first International Tourism Fair in Central Africa (FITAC), has held an interview with this correspondent to inform about a particular ambitious project, which will be visible between May 6 and 12 next year in Malabo. This expert in international tourism has estimated that the FITAC is born as a private project within the alignments of the Government of Equatorial Guinea to diversify the economy. 

The purpose, which germinates from this businesswoman of high knowledge in tourism, will not only promote employment in her country, but will also contribute to the non-dependence of hydrocarbons as a source of wealth. Thus, Maria Nchama will be a pioneer in her developing sector. "It is a Guinean state plan to turn the country into a high-level tourism destination."  

For this young entrepreneur, Equatorial Guinea is the pearl of CEMAC (Central African Economic and Monetary Community), a unique African jewel to be discovered, a place to converse and negotiate within the African continent's own framework.

The Government of Equatorial Guinea has made considerable efforts to implement structural measures that favor good governance, in order to align itself with the requirements of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Equatorial Guinea's economy is characterized by its dependence on the hydrocarbon sector, as indicated above, which accounts for more than 60% of GDP, almost all exports (95%) and nearly 85% of government revenues, according to IMF data. 

The main challenge that this expert in Tourism will face is that we are talking about a FITAC, in its first staging. And at the same time, what will be a great challenge will be a great advantage because Guineans are adept at organizing powerful events with great international repercussions. Guinea is the center of high meetings of leaders, as an African administrative headquarters, which hosts special sessions of ECCAS and other entities and therefore, "people will begin to see us from now on, as a new space for tourism; there is always a first time for everything".

Thus, FITAC will be the first FITUR in Central Africa and its creator is this young entrepreneurial woman, who for many years was responsible for the general management of Tourism in Guinea. She has dedicated the last thirteen years of her life to the tourism industry. She has a degree in Tourism and a master's degree in Management, Planning and Development of this sector. In view of the training acquired by this Guinean of diligent panache, sharp eyes and tropical finesse, Maria Nchama Nzoho has reiterated that the private entities and institutions are creating the pertinent actions that help the full materialization of the Government's ideas. Thus, FITAC is born out of Maria Nchama's passion for this sector. "It was born out of my patriotism for Guinea, even though I know that tourism is changing but attractive and is home to young human resources". 

In the same vein, resuming cocoa production in Equatorial Guinea will also be another worthy task for the sustainability of the national economy. The goal is to return to the splendorous Guinea of the cocoa days and obtain the highest per capita income in Africa. "FITAC is born with the idea of promoting tourism in Equatorial Guinea, as well as relaunching cocoa production".

Beyond the fact that Guinea participates in tourism events in other countries, FITAC is conceived to launch its own event to be held from May 6 to 12, 2024. "We have manifest interests of national and international support but the data have to be concretized and cannot be provided at the moment." "I don't like to anticipate events until they are in full swing". 

According to Maria Nchama Nzoho, a total of 500,000 people have traveled to the country in the last year, but the reason for the trip, either for leisure and enjoyment or for corporate or family matters, is difficult to know, at the moment, since that information comes from the Ministry of Tourism. "The Institute of Statistics is working flat out to have mechanisms in place to account for and break down the latest data in an official manner."

Guinea has a population of 1,550,000 people and maintains Spanish as an official language in its Constitution. It is spoken by 87% of its population. In 2013, the Equatoguinean Academy of the Spanish Language was created. 

For Nchama Nzoho, FITAC is a project of personal ambition to get Guinea properly talked about as a tourist focus. "It's my baby that I have to raise, pamper and watch grow little by little, with a five-year plan that came to life two years ago, when I presented it to the Government". 

Creating a space that brings together and encourages the involvement of a large number of exhibitors, tour operators, hotel industry professionals, as well as tourists in search of a quality destination, means the creation of a new dimension of cooperation alliances for the rapprochement in Africa for Africa and from Africa to the world.

Author: Carmen Chamorro

Directive of the CIP/ACPE and graduated in International Relations by the SEI.

The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.

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