Cape Verde could be on the brink of a hotel development wave if the government fulfils its promises to improve infrastructure and transport links.

It aims to attract more than a million tourists a year by 2020, far more than the current hotel supply can cope with, so investor opportunities on the archipelago, strategically located in the Atlantic Ocean around an hour from Dakar and around four hours from Brazil and Lisbon, could be enormous.

A detailed analysis comes from Horwath HTL, a global leader in hotel, tourism and leisure consulting, ahead of the new Forum de l’Investissement Hôtelier Africain  in Marrakesh in February 2019.

The conference, organised by Bench Events as a sister event to the long-established Africa Hotel Investment Forum, will focus on the markets of north and west Africa.

During the conference, Philippe Doizelet, Horwath HTL managing partner, hotels, based in Paris, will be sharing his expertise, gained from 300 development studies both in France and internationally.

His verdict on Cape Verde, where 45 per cent of GDP comes from tourism-related services, is: “Economic stability and growth, combined with improved international links, could present a golden scenario.”

The country has experienced a boom in hotel construction in the last decade.

From 2010 to 2016 the number of rooms in the country rose by 94 per cent (from 5,891 to 11,435 rooms).

This has led to an increase in interest from leading international tour operators (TUI, Thomas Cook, Look Voyages, Solférias, etc.) who have gradually programmed the archipelago as a top leisure destination, thus generating substantial arrivals by charter flight.

According to Horwath HTL, short term hotel development opportunities in Cape Verde are mainly located in Sal, Boa Vista and Praia.

Sal and Boa Vista are expected to remain major group leisure destinations; however, Praia is expected to develop as an administrative and business hub.

In the medium to long term, the Cape Verdean hotel market is predicted to expand as follows:

  • Sal is expected to become an established destination for leisure groups and to gain importance for the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions market.
  • Boa Vista is expected to see growth in both group and individual tourism plus the development of a wide-range of leisure activities.
  • Santiago’s capital, Praia, is expected to attract a more corporate/ MICE clientele; whereas northern and central regions of Santiago are predicted to appeal to individual travellers with a focus on eco-tourism.
  • Sao Vincente, which is currently considered to be Cape Verde’s cultural capital, is likely to evolve as a cultural, natural and beach tourism destination for individual leisure clients.

Doizelet added: “Water-supply, electricity distribution, internet connection and road networks remain the major constraints for further expansion of the sector.

“As a result, the Cape Verdean Government has recently dedicated significant funds to further stimulate development, including the launch of an ambitious transport construction program, as well as introducing attractive incentives for tourism investors.”

FIHA is the premier hotel investment conference in Francophone Africa, attracting many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies and their advisers.

It is organised by Bench Events which has an established record of delivering high-level networking and thought leadership conferences for hospitality investment and aviation in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. ‘

Matthew Weihs, managing director of Bench Events, concluded: “FIHA is a unique forum for francophone Africa, uniting the north and west of the continent and helping countries, like Cape Verde, develop their economies via hospitality investment.

“The chief executive-level speakers, alongside government ministers, will inform the audience about substantial opportunities.

“That’s all complemented by networking sessions with leading experts, enabling delegates to establish relationships and to pose questions to which they’ve always wanted answers.”