Tourism in Cape Verde has seen an incredible growth in the last 10 years. One of the best examples of its growth, is the information that comes from search engines. In a 2018 study, Cape Verde came out as one of the country's that saw the biggest growth in online searches in recent years.
The islands of Sal and Boa Vista are the islands that receive the biggest part of all visitors coming to Cape Verde. Currently, more than 75% of people visit the country for the big hotels and amazing sandy beaches of places such as Santa Maria and Sal Rei. Cape Verde is currently known as a beach destination. With 75% of foreign visitors going to the islands Sal and Boa Vista, it's safe to say that the tourism sector in Cape Verde is not very diversified.
This is a shame because it is exactly this diversity that makes the country such an interesting tourist destination. Islands such as Sal and Santo Antão could not be any different, and the same goes for São Vicente and Santiago. The tourism sector in Cape Verde has a long way to go before both visitors and locals can get the most out of it.
The Future of Tourism in Cape Verde
All the investments made in the tourism sector in Cape Verde have changed the country. At the moment, 20% of the national comes from tourism. For a country with little to no natural resources, it makes sense to rely on tourism to boost the economy. It's actually one of the few options the country has.
However, critics point out to questionable working conditions as one of the important things that need to improve. Diversification of the offer within the sector is also highly recommended, something that has been said by different organizations.
Hopefully Cape Verde will see more visitors across all islands in the future. For this to happen, the country needs better infrastructure. With regular and more connections to islands such as Fogo, Maio and São Nicolau more people can travel to multiple islands. This is deifinitely the best way to get to know Cape Verde as it really is.
One of the things visitors to especially Sal and Boa Vista can do is support small local business owners. Island tours, for example, can be booked with the large touroperators or directly with local tourguides. It makes sense to book tours with the local tourguides. Not only because they often offer quality service, but also because the support of these local businesses go a long way and have a very positive impact on the local economy.
On the island of Sal, visitors can easily take a Hiace, public transport, from Santa Maria to get to the city of Espargos and the harbour town of Palmeira. Not only a great experience for the visitor, but also something that can make a difference for drivers and sellers.
Pack for A Purpose
Pack for a Purpose is a fantastic initiative for people traveling to (mostly) developing countries. PfaP encourages travelers to take things such as school supplies with them to donate to local projects. The projects can be added to the PfaP website by tourcompanies or accommodations. This way, someone traveling to Cape Verde can see what opportunities they have to support a local project by participating in the Pack for A Purpose initiative.
*Traveling to Sal or Boa Vista? If you would like to PfaP, please reach out to us
In Mindelo, on the island of São Vicente, there is a project focused on changing Cape Verdean tourism. Sonvela Arte is a Street Art project that started back in 2014, when a group of residents of the Ilha d'Madeira/Ribeira Bote neighborhood painted their houses in bright colors and created different murals. Today, tourists can visit the project and get to know the story behind it. Visitors can even enjoy a traditional meal in one of the houses.
The project also provided an art class in another neighborhood in the past. Here, in Monte Sossego, Sonvela worked only with the materials donated by people participating in the Pack for A Purpose initiative. This art class received 20-25 neighborhood kids each weekend.
Tourism in Cape Verde is still in its early stages. Recent developments have had, for the most part, a positive impact on the country and its economy. However, it remains important that the country takes a critical look at the current situation of the sector and offer. Cape Verde also needs to have a clear vision of the future of tourism in the country, if it wants a more inclusive type of model.
Visitors can contribute to a healthier sector by consciously choosing small local businesses during their stay in the country. From accommodation to transportation, it can truly make a difference on many levels. With a little online research, you can come across initiatives such as PfaP and Sonvela Arte. This is one of the beautiful things of tourism, it can have an impact on everyone involved.
Hi, my name is Freddy, the creator of the MindeloCaboVerde.com blog! Thank you so much for reading! Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.