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Cape Verde
Travel - Leisure | Economy - Development

Cape Verde tourism growing 25% annually

afrol News / A Semana, 21 June - The number of tourists entering Cape Verde has grown an average of 25 percent per year over the past four years. 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, João Pereira Silva, at the Intermunicipal Tourism Conference held recently on São 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.

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