The construction of the new Maio port looks all set to proceed. It has been reported that the funding is now in place. The estimated cost of the project is €15m, together with a further €1.5m for the access road to the new port and training for young people on the island. The African Development Bank has backed the project. The president of the Bank will be in Cape Verde in July and this will coincide with the launch of the construction tender. Following technical investigations and studies, the new port will be located on the site of the existing port, close to Vila do Maio (Porto Inglês). It is understood that the ferry between Praia and Maio will be able to continue during the construction period. The new facilities should improve the experience for people traveling by ferry between Praia and the island of Maio.
TACV, the Cape Verde national airline, following recent rebranding, is now known as Cabo Verde Airlines. In addition the airline is planning to partner with TAAG, the Angolan national airline. TAAG abandoned flights between Luanda and Praia in 2016, because it was not considered to be a profitable route. The new agreement between the two airlines is planned to lead to a reinstatement of this route. In addition, the TACV current management agreement with Loftleidir Icelandic will cease in August of this year.
This rebranding is hoped to make for a stronger identity with the Cape Verde. This is part of the company’s restructuring.
Cabo Verde Airlines also hopes to add a new route between Cape Verde and Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. It also plans to strengthen its connectivity with Recife, Fortaleza, Milan, Paris and Lisbon.
The extension and refurbishment of the Nelson Mandela International Airport in Praia is now well underway. A smart modern building is emerging from the building site, with a large new check-in hall, travelator and much improved taxi pick up area. If you remember the old waiting area under the tent, you will realise that improvement was necessary. Although not completely finished yet, it is already a vast improvement. Further work includes expansion of the freight terminal and a new fire station.
Cape Verde and China have been in discussions about the possibility of an air transport agreement between the two countries. If such an agreement is formulated it will allow both TACV and China’s Capital Airlines to fly between the two countries.
Luís Filipe Tavares, Foreign Affairs minister has stated that this agreement could be completed by the middle of 2018.
This latest potential agreement between the two counties is just one of several other areas of cooperation, such as defence and port security.
1 November saw the commencement of TUI flights between Amsterdam and Praia on Wednesdays. The flights will add Praia to the Amsterdam schedules that already include Sal and Boa Vista. This addition to the flights into Praia is hoped to improve tourism to Santiago. This island has been largely overlooked by flight and tour operators. But the largest island in Cape Verde has a lot to offer, from the capital city of Praia, the UNESCO world heritage site of Cidade Velha, the lovely town of Tarrafal, and the majestic mountains in the middle of the island.
If you are planning to travel within Cape Verde between 10 January and 31 March 2018, you may be able to book a flight for as little as 2000CVE (€18) plus taxes. Binter CV are offering this cheaper rate for this limited period. To take advantage of this offer this you need to book before 22 October. The Binter CV website is www.binter.cv
Cape Verde receives more tourists – Once again tourism increased during the first six months of 2017. 7.9% more registered guests visited the country and overnight stays increased by 9.8%
These figures come from a recent statement by the National Statistics Institute. 348,600 guests spent a total of 2.2m overnight stays on Cape Verde. In the second three months, the number of registered guests was 153,500 with 988,100 overnight stays – 15.9% and 13.7% respectively.
From these statistics, it was established that hotels were the most popular choice for Cape Verde tourists, so hotels accounted for 87.5% of the total, with bed & breakfast establishments next with 3.9%, inns 3.2% and tourist resorts 2.7%.
Furthermore, of all the islands Sal continued to be the most popular for Cape Verde tourists, attracting almost half (45.7%). Boa Vista came second with 32.2% and Santiago third with 10.4%. The UK continued to be the origin of most of the visitors (27.1%). Portugal was next (11.4%) followed by Germany (9.9%) and The Netherlands with 8.3%, and visitors from the UK stayed the longest.
It is possible to fly to the four international airports in Cape Verde from many European cities, together with Brazil and mainland Africa. The four International Airports are Amílcar Cabral, Sal; Nelson Mandela, Praia on Santiago; Aristides Pereira, Boa Vista; and Cesária Évora, São Vicente. From any of these airports you can get to the other islands by using internal flights operated by Binter CV. In addition, there are ferries operating between some of the islands. Ferry is the only way to get to Santo Antão and Brava islands.
As Cape Verde becomes more popular as a tourist destination, more flights are becoming available from Europe. It is possible to find yourself on some of the best beaches in the world the same day.
On arrival at any of the Cape Verde international airports it is necessary to purchase a Visa which costs €25 and lasts one month. However, some airlines include the visa in their price, so it is wise to check with the airline. If you need to purchase a visa then you must join the visa queue when you arrive, not the queue for passports. If passport control cannot find you on their list, you would then have to pay the €25, but keep the receipt and reclaim the money when you leave Cape Verde.
Travel between the islands is possible by plane or boat, but the boats and the planes do not operate every day on some routes. You can travel to all islands by plane, with the exception of Santo Antão and Brava. Internal flights being operated by Binter CV Ferries operate between Praia (Santiago) and Maio; also São Vicente and Santo Antão; between São Vicente and São Nicolau; and between Praia (Santiago), Fogo and Brava. Ferry routes are sometimes liable to change, so it is always best to check with the operators – Polar Lda and CV Fast ferry
From last Saturday (3 June) a new airline route was inaugurated, linking Cape Verde with the Azores. The flight is operated by The Azores Airline. The flight also links, through the Azores, with Boston in the USA. The airline has indicated that it would be interested in a partnership with the Cape Verde airline TACV. The new route is between Praia (Santiago, Cape Verde) and Ponta Delgada (São Miguel, Azores). Two flights a week are planned during the summer and one during the winter.
It has been announced by the Cape Verde Economy Minster, José Gonçalves that on 1 August 2017 TACV, the Cape Verdean national airline, will cease to operate domestic flights within Cape Verde; Binter CV will be flying between all internal airports from mid-June. The Cape Verdean government has bought a 49% share in Binter CV, and these shares will eventually be available for sale.