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Cabo Verde – Tourism Investment Prospects: Boa Vista and Maio Islands Leading Tourism Growth Destinations

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This is the sixth in a series of articles highlighting tourism development and investment in Cabo Verde. For both visitors and investors, this tiny country, 500 kms off the coast of Senegal, is a destination that is attracting well-earned attention. In earlier articles, various aspects of tourism development and investment were covered, including developments driving demand, the incentives attracting investors, aviation developments and China Africa Fund interest in Cabo Verde. A detailed White Paper on Tourism Investment in Cabo Verde was also published to help guide interested investors.

Two of the hottest tourism growth destinations for Cabo Verde are the islands of Boa Vista and Maio. The Boa Vista and Maio Islands Tourism Development Corporation, SA, (SDTIBM) was established in 2005 to plan and manage , which is fully publicly owned and includes as partners the State and the Municipalities of Boa Vista and Maio, retaining 51%, 35% and 14% of the capital, respectively. The purpose of the SDTIBM is to plan, develop and manage the Integrated Tourism Development Areas (ZDTI) and Tourism Protected and Reserve Areas (ZRPT) on Boa Vista and Maio islands.

In June 2016, the SDTIBM reported several developments and plans that demonstrate increased tourism development and investment interest in the islands. As reported in an earlier article, Cabo Verde as a whole is experiencing a boom in hotel construction. From 2010 to 2014, the number of rooms increased by 84% from 5891 to 10,839 with the number of beds increasing by nearly 60% from 11,397 to 18,188.

Boa Vista alone, however, is expecting 10,000 rooms by 2022 based on projects already underway and in the pipeline. They are also expecting an estimated 70% occupancy rate with the number of tourists to the islands jumping from 175,536 in 2015 to 701,136 by 2022. Two of the largest hotels on the islands – the Riu Karamboa (750 rooms) and the Riu Turareg (881 rooms) – are also expected to benefit greatly from the growth. The volume of business is expected to increase from US$81mn to US$324mn in the same period. Comparable increases will be experienced in employment, VAT earnings, visa fees, airport passenger fees and aircraft landing and departure fees.

Boa Vista

With an area of 620 km2Boa Vista is the third largest island in Cabo Verde. Beaches stretch along the West and Southwest coasts.  Lowlands dominate the island, with the exception of some small hills. Dunes can reach several meters in height, and can play an important role in protecting and conserving the coast, especially against the erosion of beaches. 

The eastern part of the island is replete with rich biodiversity: breeding populations of sea turtles, sea bird colonies, fields of sand dunes, wetlands and rich fauna, coral colonies, unique fish species, rare bird species and millennial trees, such as baobab, wild fig and almond trees. The western and southern areas offer substantial lowlands and sand banks, which provide ideal beach resort development sites. These sites include the three Integrated Tourism Development Areas (ZDTI) of Chave, Morro de Areia, and Santa Mónica/Lacacao.

The Chave ZDTI has 801 hectares of land for tourism developments, which SDTIMB hopes will someday include over 4000 hotel rooms and a golf course. This ZDTI also includes 853 hectares that are set aside for environmental protection. In June 2016, the Riu Hotel Group announced that two 500 room hotels will be built within this ZDTI and opened by 2018. Three properties exist at the northern end of the ZDTI: Iberostar Club Boa Vista, the Royal Decameron Boa Vista, and the Parque das Dunas Village. The following map delineates the plots for development.

CaboMap

The Morro de Areia ZDTI comprises a total land area of 624 hectares, with 475 hectares designated for tourism development, which SDTIMB hopes will someday include over 4000 hotel rooms and a casino. The following map delineates the plots for development.

Map

The Santa Mónica/Lacacao ZDTI comprises a total area of 3432 hectares, which SDTIMB hopes will someday include over 7000 hotel rooms. This ZDTI currently the Riu Tuareg Hotel, which the Riu Group expects to complete expansion from 880 to 1150 rooms by November 2016. 

The Island of Maio is the southernmost of the archipelago’s eastern islands with a land area of 269 km2 known for extensive flat surfaces, a small mountain range in the center and surrounding dunes. Maio also has the largest forest area in the country. The island is endowed with extensive beautiful beaches, especially on the West and South /Southwest coasts.  The crystal clear waters surrounding the island and rich marine life offer great marine tourism opportunities. The Island includes the three Integrated Tourism Development Areas (ZDTI) of Sul da Vila of Maio, Ribeira D. João and Pau Seco.

Maio

The Sul da Vila of Maio ZDTI comprises a total area of 770 hectares, which SDTIMB hopes will someday include over 1000 hotel rooms; 196 hectares are set aside for environmental protection. No hotels are currently listed on TripAdvisor for this ZDTI. 

The Ribeira D. João ZDTI comprises a total area of 1,060 hectares, of which 924 hectares are for tourism development and 126 hectares for environmental and landscape protection areas. SDTIMB hopes will someday include over 2000 hotel rooms. The protected area is known for turtle breeding. No hotels are currently listed on TripAdvisor for this ZDTI. 

The Pau Seco ZDTI comprises a total area of only 224 hectares, which SDTIMB hopes will someday include over 4000 hotel rooms. No hotels are currently listed on TripAdvisor for this ZDTI. No development plan is available yet for this ZDTI.

Boa Vista and Maio both offer easy air access for visitors and, through the development zones, excellent sites for beach and marine tourism investments. The SDTIBM can help make investments happen. For more information, contact:  [email protected], tel: +238-251-9200.

- Scott Wayne, Tourism Investment Advisor to Questex

Boa Vista and Maio Islands Tourism Development Corporation – “Sociedade de Desenvolvimento Turístico das Ilhas da Boa Vista e Maio, SA” (SDTIBM) – is a limited liability company jointly owned by the State of Cabo Verde and the Municipalities of Boa Vista and Maio. SDTIBM manages and promotes private sector investment and sustainable tourism development in six tourism development zones (ZTE) on these islands. All ZTE land planning has been completed – an advantage for investors. SDTIBM sells land in stunning waterfront locations in the ZTE’s that is well served by local road and utilities networks. Over 90% of the ZTE land remains available for development with Maio almost completely undeveloped.

This article is brought to you by Cabo Verde, and was produced in partnership with HOTEL MANAGEMENT’s sales team. HOTEL MANAGEMENT’s editorial team played no part in developing the article.