Cape Verde Tourism on the Rise in 2017
By Maria Thermann

Cape Verde Tourism on the Rise in 2017

Most tourists come to stay on the less populated, flatter islands of Boa, Maio, Sal and Vista, but some of the islands now also attract ecotourism thanks to their imposing mountain ranges and stunning scenery, such as on the island of Fogo, where the volcano Pico del Fogo beckons climbers and nature enthusiasts alike. The main leisure activities in the archipelago revolve around windsurfing, diving, sailing and trekking.

Sal welcomes the largest intake of tourists with around 45.6% of the total hotel entries, followed by Boa Vista with 31.6%. The friendly, welcoming and laid-back Cape Verdean culture of Creole Portuguese-African origin is one of the many reasons why thousands of tourists choose these islands off the north west coast of Africa as their holiday destination every year.

Santiago is the largest island, and it is here where the current capital, Praia, and the historic capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cidade Velha, attract the greatest numbers of visitors. A fierce clifftop fortress, Forte Real de São Felipe, protects the coast and both towns.

The official language spoken by the 540,000 or so Cape Verdean residents is Portuguese, and the official currency is the Cape Verdean escudo. The islands' fledgling tourism industry took a terrible knock, when it was discovered a couple of years ago that a stay in Cape Verde bore the risk of Zika virus transmission. There are still occasional outbreaks of the virus now. Before travelling, check your own government's travel advice online for the latest updates on Cape Verde.

Cheap Apartments and Villas in Cape Verde

For around 100,000 euros frequent visitors can buy a two-bedroomed apartments in one of the major resorts in Santa Maria and look forward to years of unrivalled holiday bliss. But while most visits to the archipelago are totally trouble-free and highly enjoyable, buying a property in Cape Verde is not entirely risk-free.

It is essential to seek independent and highly qualified legal advice and have all documents pertaining to a property purchase translated into one's own language, before signing anything binding, especially if you're buying to let to tourists, a rapidly growing segment of the local housing sector.

Tourism as a major source of revenue has grown fast over the last ten years. Tourists are mainly from the UK, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Portugal and Italy, but a small percentage of US holidaymakers is also part of the overall tourism scene. According to the Global Property Guide reporting in April of this year, Cape Verde's tourism sector is finally recovering from the Zika-affect. Tourism has been instrumental in the archipelago's economic growth, contributing ca. 44.5% of GDP last year, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council's 2017 report. forecasts are optimistic for the coming years, especially as cultural tourism has yet to be exploited.

Last year, the main islands welcomed 644,000 tourists, an increase of 13.2% from 2016, according to INE, the National Statistics Institute. It's a phenomenal increase, given that in 2003 the islands welcomed just 150,000 visitors. Housing all of these visitors is therefore a priority, and foreign investment is highly welcome.

The boom in tourism has already convinced large-scale investors that it is time to move in. Last year, the first-ever casino, the 250 million euro Casino Royal, opened on Santiago Island. The Cape Verde government also signed a memorandum of understanding with Spain in January this year that covers a wide range of assistance in improving sea and air transport facilities and roads.

Various French business groups have begun to eye Cape Verde this year, according to Prime Ministry Ulisses Correia e Silva. There is a possibility of the archipelago joining the Schengen area too, the Prime Minister confirmed. This is an agreement between 30 European countries permitting free movement of people between member countries. Most of Cape Verde's tourists are from Europe, so it makes sense for the archipelago to join.

Property development projects already confirmed or in progress include several new hotels, such as Meli´┐Ż Hotels International's five new hotels. Buying a hotel room (fractional ownership) is a popular way of getting on the Cape Verdean real estate ladder. A premium or deluxe suite in a Boa Vista development, however, can cost as much as £40,000, which is rather expensive, when compared to the purchase of a 3-bedroomed, 3-bathroomed villa in Santa Maria for around £127,000, or a 3-bedroom apartment for around £91,500 overlooking Cabral Beach.

Most apartments are listed for Santa Maria and Bona Vista, as well as Sal, Santo Antao, Pedra Badejo and Mindelo. In some of these, a spacious ground floor apartment with two bedrooms and its own private sun terrace start at just £73,300 (ca. 82,500 euros). Cape Verde is a great opportunity for buy-to-let landlords, investors looking to expand their international portfolios and those looking for an affordable exotic get-away with the added bonus of good capital gains potential.

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