And how the Islands sparkle!
Until recently Cape Verde has aÂ beauty which was largely kept a secret â€“ the long beaches of endless white sand, lapped by turquoise ocean, fantastic all year climate and the historical mystery of colonial style towns like Ribeira Grande and Mindelo, the first European Cities in the tropics: the wide variety of landscapes â€“ from dramatic volcanic â€“ to lush and verdant. Also, check out our great deals on cape verde property.
Nowadays, the Cape Verde islands are opening up to tourists, especially holiday makers searching for a rich blend of fresh holiday experiences from simply lazing on the wonderful beaches to quad biking to scuba diving and even deep sea fishingÂ and generally finding out how to get around Cape Verde. Even the Cape Verde people are unique, being a cultural mix of their two nearest neighbours â€“ Senegal and Brazil, this combination is most obvious in the ever-present Cape Verde music; a scintillating hip-swinging fusion of Samba and Salsa sprinkled with tribal African.
Thanks to the Government's positive and constructive approach, Cape Verde's tourism industry has grown significantly in recent years, and is unquestionably set to continue to flourish. The islands now regularly appear in top ten lists of the most popular new destinations for UK tourists and increasing exposure from media coverage is helping to drive growth.
The number of foreign tourists visiting Cape Verde Wil!i approximately 150,000 In 2000, a figure which has steadily increased every year to around 280,500 in 2006. Based on these figures, there is considerable room for further growth as airlines are currently working at an average of 75% capacity. Most recent official statistics indicate a 22% annual increase in the number of tourists visiting the islands and the Government predicts that the country will attract one million visitors by 2015.
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In the past the majority of tourists visiting the islands have been from Italy but since the launch of direct flights from Gatwick, Manchester and, in November 2007, from Stansted, the number of visitors from the UK has rocketed.
If the estimated 280,582 people who visited Cape Verde in 2006, 59.6% stayed in Sal, '19.8% in Santiago, 7.7% in Sao Vicente, 7.5% in Boavista and 3% in Maio. But despite the growth in tourist numbers the islands continue to operate at less than full capacity.
In 2006 Sal's overall hotel occupancy rate was 55%, illustrating real ability to absorb I further growth. An encouraging sign of the appeal of high quality facilities on Sal is demonstrated by an average occupancy rate of 90% at the five-star Rui Hotel since opening in October 2005.
Between 1999 and 2006 the number of beds available for tourists increased by 35%, from 3,874 to 10,360, 59% of them on the island of Sal.
A significant contribution to the growth of tourism has been made by the global surfing l:ommunity. Cape Verde's beaches present ideal conditions for surfing, Windsurfing and kiteboarding and the islands are now a fixture on the calendars of the sports' worldwide events.
The waters surrounding the islands are particularly attractive to divers, offering several shipwrecks dating back to the 16th century and plentiful marine life. The islands also make an excellent holiday destination for those looking for game fishing, bird watchingÂ and 3nd mountain hiking.
The number of tourists entering Cape Verde has grown an average of 25 percent per year over the past four years. Tourists are attracted to the wonderful culture of Cape Verde. From 67,000 tourists in 2000, the figure jumped to 178,000 in 2004. These were some of the numbers announced by Cape Verde's Minister of the Economy, Growth and Competitiveness, JoÃ£o Pereira Silva, at the Intermunicipal Tourism Conference held recently on SÃ£o Vicente.
In his speech at the conference, which was promoted by Unotur, Pereira Silva presented data from the World Tourism Organisation, comparing them with the development of the tourism sector in Cape Verde. Revenues, according to the Minister, grew 20 percent per year between 2000 and 2004, with totals jumping from 5 billion to 10 billion escudos (45 to 90 million euros).
The data related to the growth of the sector in Cape Verde supports all of the trends described by the World Tourism Organisation's studies and forecasts regarding the importance of tourism in developing economies, particularly in small island nations, stressed the Cape Verdean Minister.
Cape Verde's business sector also merited the attention of Minister Pereira Silva, who called for the removal of barriers limiting access to credit in the sector.
In Mr Pereira Silva's view, "the creation of public-private partnerships present in the tourist development corporations was the best solution encountered" for the stalemate in the elaboration of a Territorial Ordering Plan, as well as other zoning management instruments.
The government and the private sector of Cape Verde have invested large sums in tourism infrastructure for the sub-tropical archipelago during the last decade. Tourism is still mostly confined to the island of Sal, which houses the country's only large international airport equipped to receive charter flights from Europe.
A new and bigger airport is soon to be opened close to the capital Praia on the island of Santiago. Around Praia, large-scale tourism projects are already being developed, copying the successes of the nearby Spanish Canary Islands. With the new international airport in Praia, Cape Verde hopes to open up even more islands to charter tourism from Europe and that the tourism sector continues to grow for the next decade.
In its long-term plans to fight poverty and increase economic growth, the Cape Verdean government together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has defined two sectors of special attention and opportunity. These are the successful tourism sector and the fisheries sector. The largest challenge regarding further tourism developments is the Sahelian archipelago's scarcity of water.
There are many types of activities to keep you entertained when taking your vacation on the islands.