Tourist numbers on Cape Verde are predicted to increase from 150,000 currently, to 500,000 by 2010. Of particular interest to buy-to-let investors, this section looks at the present and future for tourism on Cape Verde’s main islands.
One of the main considerations for the vast majority of our investor clients is the rental potential of the islands, both in the short and long term. In this section, we shall give you the full picture in terms of the present Cape Verde tourism infrastructure and visitor trends, and their likely progression over the coming months and years.
The level of tourists visiting Cape Verde during the first six months of 2005 rose by 8.6% in comparison to the first half of 2004, according to figures released by the National Institute of Statistics. Cape Verde is in prime position to become as popular as the Canary Islands, if not more so because of its favourable climate.
Tourism has been Cape Verde’s main economic activity for several years now and current trends show that this sector will continue to grow year-on-year, considering the numerous projects underway in the islands at present.
The main international airport is located in Sal, although a second international airport opened on the island of Santiago near the capital Praia in November 2005. For the long term, this highlights a bright future for inevitable growth of the tourism throughout the islands and would suggest significant return on investment for those purchasing at the earliest opportunity. An ‘Open Skies’ policy on Cape Verde allows all global airlines to negotiate for landing slots as required, in addition to the Cape Verde national airline TACV, leaving room for competition and competitive air fares.
As your own research has probably led you to believe already, the island of Sal is by far the most developed in terms of tourism facilities and infrastructure, as of early 2006. Predicted to become the ‘Tenerife’ of the Cape Verde islands, Sal is experiencing massive growth in terms of development, infrastructure and in line with these factors, visitor numbers.
Firstly and most perhaps most importantly, you must consider the accessibility of each Island. Sal has the most established International Airport of all the islands in the Republic. Located in the centre of the island, next to a new highway connecting North with South, you are only 15-20 minutes away from the main coastal resorts when you land.
At present there are no scheduled services between the UK and Sal, although there are plans in place to remedy this. Don’t let this put you off however as for investment purposes, this situation is perfect for both UK & Irish investors as prices shall rise dramatically when services are in full operation. When underway, a Tropical Holiday for UK & Irish tourists shall be just 5 and half hours away!
Scheduled service routes to/from Sal International Airport are at present as below (not including Low Coast and Charter Airline routes). With this level of routes already in place, even without the direct UK services, you have a considerable existing rental market within easy reach of the island.
Sal is the most popular destination for tourists in the Republic with 66.7% of all hotel visitors, highlighting why this is the preferred destination for those in search of a rental market for their chosen investments. There are numerous hotels up and running, and in particular around the resort of Santa Maria. Demand for accommodation, be it hotel or private rentals, far outweighs supply on Sal already. This can only be a good sign for your rental ambitions. Even before UK & Irish direct operations begin in earnest, there is a growing rental market waiting for investors to take advantage from in the form of considerable Italian, Portuguese and surprisingly American visitors, which highlights the impact that direct flight services bring.
The RIU hotel chain, has completed construction of the Club Hotel Riu Funaná, the new reference point in holiday tourism resorts on the island of Sal. This new, five-star, all-inclusive hotel with 500 rooms (with more rooms to follow in 2006) has been conceived as an oasis of comfort next to one of Africa's best beaches. The hotel opened its doors in September 2005, and has not had an empty bed in its first 6 months! If you would like to make a reservation here, it is highly recommended that you make your reservation no less than 2 months prior to arrival to obtain a room.
Another fine hotel on Sal is the Hotel Odjo d’Água, in a beautiful setting at Santa Maria. As a smaller, more exclusive hotel with the greatest attention to detail, there are 34 rooms with 12 suites and full facilities. There is even a small private beach area for guests to enjoy, with panoramic bar and a large pool and solarium surrounded by tropical private gardens.
Santa Maria & Punta Pretta are regarded as something of a ‘Mecca’ for Kite Surfers. There is a Kite Surfing school, where you may receive tuition ofcourse, and experienced enthusiasts can also hire equipment. Surfers are also in abundance along the coast, with the Atlantic Ocean providing fantastic surfing conditions in certain areas. Visitors can also hire boats to go fishing, or even go Scuba Diving with trained professionals.The developers currently on Sal are placing a huge priority on providing quality facilities for Sal’s tourism base, with the majority of new developments containing or being close to, numerous leisure activities. For example, a brand new Aquapark is being constructed at Santa Maria, a short walk from the beach, bars and restaurants. However, it is around the beach resorts that you shall find the greatest concentration of quality activities for the whole family.
Having tired yourself out with all these activities, you can be rest assured of a fine evening meal at any one of many restaurants around the resort of Santa Maria. The fish dishes in particular are fantastic, having often been caught directly off the local waters within one or two hours of being served! Prices are also very reasonable, being far less than mainland Spain for example.
The exchange rate value of the Cape Verde Escudo is fixed to the Euro (1 Euro = 110.265 Cape Verde Escudos). This has great benefits and is seen by many as the first step to adopting the Euro throughout the Republic. At the moment almost all businesses accept the Euro side by side with their own local CV Escudos.
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