- The Spanish hotel giant Barceló has announced its return to the archipelago of Cape Verde with the investment in a large four-star hotel on the island of Sal, raising hopes that Cape Verde will avoid a feared downslide in tourism arrivals and investments.
The Spanish hotel group Barceló has signed a lease agreement that will allow it to return to Cape Verde with a 4-star hotel on the island of Sal, the main tourist destination of this archipelago. Barceló earlier did run a lower standard hotel on the island, but recently had refrained from renewing its lease agreement, thus temporarily leaving the Cape Verdean market. Barceló in a press release says it therefore counts on good knowledge about the West African country and its tourism industry.
The hotel to be constructed on Sal is to become a four-star resort with 500 rooms and 240 apartments. It is to be located at the very sea front and plans to open its doors in 2011.
Barceló, which has a leading position among Spanish charter tourists, in its press release emphasises that Cape Verde is located only two flight hours south of Spain's Canary Islands and four hours from mainland Spain, offering an exotic but affordable destination with a temperate tropical climate and spectacular beaches well fitted for sunbathers and fans of windsurfing and kite surfing.
Cape Verde has been seen as an emerging destination for the last five years, and the archipelago has managed to attract much foreign investment to rapidly build a well-functioning tourism infrastructure, in particular on Sal Island. Spanish capital has been among the main sources to these investments.
However, with the global financial crisis, Cape Verde has been among the first countries to be mentioned regarding a possible collapse in the tourism and property market, as the archipelago remains a far-away destination for most Europeans and most other main markets. In particular Spain has been struck by the current crisis, and Spanish tour operators and airliners have already noted a clear trend of fewer travellers. The tourism industry in general is one of those industries expected to suffer hardest as Western consumers fear for their economic future.
Nevertheless, Barceló, which is among Spain's top-3 hotel chains and number 24 in the world, still sees the Cape Verdean market as a potential money-maker. For Cape Verdean authorities, this comes as an encouragement. For Barceló, the risk however is not as big as it may seem. By 2011, when the hotel is expected to open, most financial experts expect the current crisis to be history and new boom years to begin.
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