Tourism Traffic Increases On Accra-Sao Tome Route

The number of Ghanaians visiting São Tomé ad Principe, a twin Island on the Atlantic Ocean that lies on the equator, has increased by about 20percent since 2015, necessitating the increase in flight frequency between the two countries to meet demand.

The island nation, which boasts of pristine waters, lush vegetation, and ideal ocean spots for scuba diving, was hitherto mainly patronized by Europeans as a holiday destination until Lisbon-based TAP Portugal introduced a direct flight from Accra to São Tomé.

“Before we started operating this route in October 2015, it was mainly Europeans who visited São Tomé and Principe for leisure. But now the dynamics have changed; 80 percent of visitors are Europeans and 20 percent are from Ghana. This shows the potential of multiple destination tourism between the two countries,” Edwin Lawson, TAP’s Country Manager, Ghana said.

Airline data available indicate that the total passenger uplift in 2016 from Accra to São Tomé and Principe was 2,294, representing a 29 percent increase over the 2015 figure of 1,620.

Mr. Lawson noted that: “With the various initiatives being executed, it is my hope that this upward trend will continue in superb fashion.”

The Atlantic Ocean Island is under 2hrs by air from Accra, a major reason for the growth in tourism traffic. The cost of a round-trip is also relatively low.

“We have four flights between Ghana and São Tomé and Príncipe Island—Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. At just about US$300, Ghanaians can easily fly into this beautiful country for a romantic weekend getaway,” Mr Lawson added.

The growth in traffic between Accra and São Tomé and Principe follows the trend of growing international passenger throughput.

Latest Ghana Airports Company Limited data show that international passenger throughput has increased from 361,601 at the end of the first quarter of 2015 to 402,441 as at end of the first quarter 2016; an increase of about 11.3 percent.

Domestic Passenger throughput

Domestic passenger throughput from Accra to the four major domestic destinations in the country – Takoradi, Kumasi, Sunyani and Tamale have increased significantly, GACL data shows.

Domestic passenger throughput for the first quarter of 2017, increased by 33 percent over the same period last year; increasing from 88,793 in Q1 2016 to 118,159 as at Q1 2017.

The significant increase in passenger volumes, at a period that is usually characterized by low yield in the country’s domestic aviation sector, has been attributed to the surge in economic activity since the new government took over the administration of the country.

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