Cape Verde has seen an incredible, colossal, exponential surge in tourism since tourism was conceptualized in the islands. A conceptualization that is credited to having started in the 1970s on the island of Sal, primarily due to the fact that it was the only airport in Cape Verde to serve international flights up until 2005. Tourism in Cape Verde increased slowly in the 1980s, progressed in the 1990s and has affirmatively surged since the 2000s.
As a matter of fact, Cape Verde has surged so much in the international tourism industry that CNN named it one of its top 18 places to visit in 2018. Cape Verde has made other high ranking lists including being listed as a top 10 most ethical world travel destinations.
Cape Verde has even dubbed among some as “Africa’s Caribbean’s” or as “The new Canaries.”
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As they say, numbers don’t lie. According to the Cape Verdean Bureau of Statistics (Instituto Nacional de Estatistica Cabo Verde), the number of tourists increased by 11.2% in 2017 compared to 2016. This equated to more than 716 thousand tourists in 2017. And in the year 2018 it was reported that the country’s hotels hosted 765,000 tourists.
THE GOVERNMENT OF CAPE VERDE HAS DECLARED ITS TARGET IS TO REACH 1 MILLION TOURISTS A YEAR VISITING CAPE VERDE BY 2020.
SO, WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
Cape Verde is comprised of 10 islands, of which 9 are inhabited. Cape Verde’s population is estimated at roughly 540 thousand. Of the 540 thousand people, we will boldly state that a far majority never get to know Cape Verde outside of the island that they live in and some may at some point in their life travel to their neighboring island.
For example, in the island of Brava, some of the residents of Brava may at some point get to visit their neighboring island, Fogo, and vice versa. However, it’s extremely unlikely that a resident of Brava may get to know any other island in Cape Verde.
This goes for the Island of São Vicente and Santo Antão and for all the islands of Cape Verde.
The reason why this is so is because it’s so expensive to travel in Cape Verde for Cape Verdians. Tourists come to Cape Verde an in 10-15 days they see more of Cape Verde than a Cape Verdean has seen in their entire lifetime or will ever see.
CAPE VERDEANS CAN’T TRAVEL INSIDE OF CAPE VERDE DUE TO THE FACT THAT TRANSPORTATION, BY LAND OR SEA, IS TOO EXPENSIVE. TRANSPORTATION IS TOO EXPENSIVE AND THEIR EARNINGS ARE MISERABLE.
Domestic tourism in Cape Verde, for Cape Verdeans, will never develop in its current state.
The minimum wage in Cape Verde is roughly $150 USD a month and an average airplane round trip to any island in Cape Verde can be about $160 – $180 USD. That is, a months wage for most Cape Verdeans couldn’t get them an airplane round trip to one of Cape Verde’s islands.
Not to mention the fact that you need money for transportation upon arrival, lodging, food, etc. Let’s not factor entertainment into the equation, sad!
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
The politics of tourism in Cape Verde is one that has been handed over by the Cape Verdean Government to leading international tour operators (TUI, Thomas Cook, Look Voyages, Solférias, etc.).
These international tour operators have designed and destined Cape Verde as a top leisure destination where a substantial, gigantic percentage of tourists arriving in Cape Verde arrive by their charter flights on all inclusive resort packages.
That is, all inclusive resort packages usually include at a minimum lodging, three meals daily, soft drinks, most alcoholic drinks, gratuities, and possibly other services in the price.
JOB CREATION, WEALTH DESOLATION
What these all inclusive packages have done in Cape Verde is create jobs. Jobs with miserable wages. Wages that are so low that Cape Verdeans can never earn enough to travel inside their own country.
Cape Verdeans work in resorts that they will never, ever be able to afford spend a night in, let alone a Cape Verdean from a different island travel to their for a weekend.
THESE ALL INCLUSIVE RESORTS HAVE CREATED JOBS WITH MISERABLE WAGES FOR CAPE VERDEANS, BUT HAVE CREATED INSURMOUNTABLE WEALTH FOR THEIR FOREIGN OWNERS.
WHAT ELSE IS CONTRIBUTING TO THE PROBLEM?
Previous to monopolizing the domestic airline industry in Cape Verde, of which Binter entered as a low cost competitor, it would at times offer round trip flight to certain island for as low as $90 USD.
However, upon the Cape Verdean governments daunting decision to shut down TACV airlines domestic flights operation, Binter Airlines monopolizes the domestic flight industry and immediately increased their prices almost two fold, that is, 200%!
Cape Verdeans can’t travel inside their own country, a country dubbed as “Africa’s Tourist Destination” because its very own government and governing officials has subjugated its people to foreign dominance.
Leading international tour operators (TUI, Thomas Cook, Look Voyages, Solférias, etc…) dictate wages Cape Verdeans earn and Spanish owned Binter Airlines solely determines the cost of airline traveling in Cape Verde.
Both, A DARN SHAME instituted by Cape Verde’s government and governing officials.
Cape Verdes very own author and authority on tourism in Cape Verde, Carlos Fortes Lopes, wrote Cabo Verde: Tourist guide. He starts his handbook with a note on the history of the archipelago and then he concentrates on each island, its own history since Cape Verde’s discovery and places to visit in each island.
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6 thoughts on “CAPE VERDE: AFRICA’S COVETED TOURISM DESTINATION…HOWEVER, WHY DOESN’T IT HAVE ANY DOMESTIC TOURISM?”
You have in your article put your finger on the problems, all in tourist resorts and expensive inter island flight prices. Not only does it stop the local people from going from Island to Island but also discourages tourists from visiting the other Islands and thus spreading the income from tourism to a lot more of the local people. You need some one like Ryanair or Easy Jet to shake up the air transport market. I have on a couple of occasions had return flights from Ireland to Cape Verde cheaper than my return flight from Sal to St Nicolau.
I would like to visit more of the Islands but it is just to expensive.
Hello James. We completely agree with you. Competition in the inter islands flight market is needed, urgently! Together we can continue to bring awareness to this issue and ultimately, change.
This is a point of view of somebody living in a wholly diferent part of the world, where the economic capacity has not to be comparable to the existing one in Cape Verde. Se if we have two tourism importante destinations, Sal and Boavista, is because powerful investors with their rules (say, the all inclusive system) as a non refutable conditions decided to invest in this two islands. The other Islands were not found enough attractive so that to compomise their money with them. Those are mind games which aim are not quite clear. Being an archipel places to us heavy chalenges, as it the case of the air transport. We struggled a lot to maintain the operation of a company managed by the Governrnment and we were unsucessful. The new executive is trying another way out for the Island connections. It is true that tickets are expensive. But we question, what were the ressons, for the failure of the former Tacv administration? May be those who do not agree with the air transporte management will be find rigth in the future but only after their experience shows to be wrong. Words come easily, the most importante is the practice that follows.
Hello Sérgio. Thank you for your input.
it lacks a monopolistic reference of TAP.
Thank you. Indeed, that is also something else to expand on.
Comments are closed.