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News: Cape Verde: The new Caribbean?

Wed, 14 Nov 07

The Cape Verde islands have had plenty of attention recently, not least as the number of airports on the islands grows and so does the availability of flights direct from the UK...

Not surprisingly, many have chosen to hail these islands in the sun as offering the same as some rather better known locations. This was particularly true this week of Emerging Real Estate, which declared the archipelago "The new Caribbean" via Pr Newswire.

But Emerging Real Estate did not stop there. In a statement noting its own involvement in the property investment market of Cape Verde the company noted that the islands occupied the same latitude as Barbados, while being much closer to Britain, just five and a half hours by flight and an hour behind Greenwich Mean Time on the clock, removing any worries about jetlag. On this basis, one might argue that the islands are in fact even better.

Perfect holiday destination

Speaking about a new development on the island of Sal which the company was involved with, Emerging Real Estate's chief executive officer Pelle Langli said: "Cape Verde is one of the world's most exciting property hotspots. Its close proximity to Europe, as well as its stunning coastline, interior and climate make it the perfect holiday destination."

While such comments might be taken by some to be hyperbole, a growing army of tourists would, it appears, beg to differ. Earlier this week the Cape Verdean tourism minister, Victor Fidalgo, said the number of tourists visiting the islands this year will reach 320,000, with half a million annual tourists turning up by 2011 or 2012, reports Cabo Verde 24.

Such optimism reflects the trends of the last few years, when Cape Verdean tourism has grown markedly. Emerging Real Estate themselves noted that the government of the islands had sought to push tourism as a key provider of growth for the economy.

Rising prominence

Of course, comparisons with the Carribbean are bound to throw up a few differences, even if the availability of sunshine, sand and deep blue sea is common to both locations. In Cape Verde's favour is not just its greater geographical proximity, but also its lack of exposure to the tropical storms suffered on the other side of the Atlantic.

At the same time, it is of course true that many will prefer the cultural elements of a former British colony, where the speaking of English, sporting ties and reggae all contribute to a cultural affinity and familiarity which visitors like to enjoy.

For all that, it is clear that with Cape Verde on the up and tourist demand for accommodation set to rise, investors have some real opportunities to tap into a growing market. Given such growth, it may soon be the case that the Cape Verde islands will become so prominent in their own right that they won't need to be compared with the Carribbean or anywhere else for that matter.

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