Tourist Master Plan of the Islands of São Nicolau, São Vicente and Santo Antão


A look at tourism in the Northern Islands

Cape Verde stands out in world tourism, attracting tourists in search of its transparent waters, scenic landscapes, ecotourism, and water sports, among other characteristics that make it so special. The main tourist destinations are Sal and Boa Vista Islands.

However, the Government has sought to decentralize and diversify the Cape Verde tourism sector to reduce the impact on the most visited islands, driving the sustainable strengthening of tourism on the other islands in the country. The Government received a credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) for the elaboration of Tourism Development Projects aimed at creating the necessary conditions to increase investment and diversification of products in the tourism sector.

This work aims at the development of the tourism Master Plan of the islands in the north of the country: Santo Antão, São Vicente and São Nicolau, consistent with the territory and with the socioeconomic demands and considering their particularities, cultural and natural heritage, as well as the trends in the national and international tourism market.

About 500 kilometers from the African coast, the northern islands have predominant and unique characteristics that make them rural and tourist destinations by nature. Its proximity and maritime connection stimulate an environmental articulation and reinforce the character of complementarity in terms of tourism resources and infrastructure, configuring a strategic region focused on the country’s tourism development.

Master Plan Turístico das Ilhas de São Nicolau, São Vicente e Santo Antão
Master Plan Turístico das Ilhas de São Nicolau, São Vicente e Santo Antão
Master Plan Turístico das Ilhas de São Nicolau, São Vicente e Santo Antão

The work involves a relevant initial step of understanding issues related to the dynamics of tourism in the region, in addition to considering the tourist demand on the islands, analysis of the tourist inventory, attractions and tourist infrastructure, as well as their main characteristics and identification of the opportunities and challenges for composition of new routes or strengthening of existing products.

The construction of the future vision for the island starts from the intersection of the analyzes, aiming at the definition of strategies and action plans based on the following premises: sustainability, circular economy, and experience tourism, prioritizing opportunities for visitor engagement with the place. In the areas of strategic action, potential tourist segments and products that lead to proposals are identified, divided between actions and projects.

The actions have a structuring character and create technical, political, and managerial support for the sustainability of the islands’ development. The projects structure the vision of the future. Actions and projects are organized into thematic axes, which relate to the complexity of the various points that are addressed in the construction of the Master Plan.

Examples of projects include strengthening local governance, making material to promote tourism, developing entrepreneurship programs and training in adventure tourism, historical-cultural tourism, gastronomy, and others. In addition, the strengthening of local festivities and handicrafts, support for the creation of new protected areas, implementation of reception centers for visitors, network of viewpoints, interpretive signage, among others.

The work contemplates the development of the implementation plan, which presents the activities that guide the execution of the Master Plan, indicating, in addition to the coordination structure responsible for the implementation of plans and projects, models, prioritization and implementation scenarios. In addition to the relationship between the projects and the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), studies were carried out to assess socio-environmental, socio-cultural impacts and mitigation processes.