Exclusive interview with Francisco Martins, Executive Director of Cape Verde Tourism Board in Lisbon

Niels Bartels, ANA’s Travel Editor (r) pictured with Mr Francisco Martins, Executive Director of Cape Verde Tourism Board at BTL in Lisbon, Portugal/Photo Credit: AfricaNewsAnalysis/Niels

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Lisbon, Portugal, 02. 03, 2024

The “Bolsa de Turismo de Lisboa“ (BTL) is a very important tourism trade fair which has been held annually in Lisbon in Portugal since 1989.

The event promotes Portugal and also international destinations.

One of the international destinations at the event was Cape Verde. AfricaNewsAnalysis’ travel editor, Niels Bartels, met up with Francisco Martins, who is the Executive Director of Cape Verde Tourism Board.

AfricaNewsAnalysis/Niels: What are you showcasing at the trade fair BTL in Lisbon ? Are there any special promotions which you have for this event?

Francisco Martins: Basically we came as international guests. We promote the country as a whole but also try to show the country not only as a beach and sun destination. Our country is more: Ecotourism, Aqua sports, history and culture…Everything we have we are showing here. Furthermore we have a food promotion: wine, cheese etc There are many things to show. It’s a huge opportunity for us as a guest destination to sell Cape Verde to the European market as a very unique destination.

AfricaNewsAnalysis/Niels: Which places in Cape Verde are the most popular ones among tourists ?

Franciso Martins: Right now it is Boa Vista. They have beautiful beaches. However we still have a lot of things to show. From Santo Antao, there is the old mountain where you can do trekking to Santiago which is a very complete destination with sun and beaches as well. And Fogo is one of the very interesting places because they have impressive volcanic scenes and we produce wine as well in Fogo.

AfricaNewsAnalysis/Niels: You just mentioned Ecotourism a bit. What precisely do you do in eco tourism?

Francisco Martins. Trekking for example is very popular among the German and French market. They love to come to Santo Antao to do some treks. And we do now have the “Cape Verde Trail Series“ – international athletes come to Cape Verde for that.

AfricaNewsAnalysis/Niels: If you compare the situation of tourism in Cape Verde pre Covid with post Covid: is it already on the same level, did tourism pick up ?

Franciso Martins: We do now even have more guests than before Covid. We have around 12% more guests than in 2019.

AfricaNewsAnalysis/Niels: How important is tourism then for the economy of Cape Verde?

Franciso Martins: Tourism is the engine for our economy. It is very important. It is at least 25% of the GDP. It has a great impact on the economy and social lifes.

AfricaNewsAnalysis/Niels: What are currently the key trends in tourism ? Is there anything very new?

Franciso Martins: Aqua sports and kite surfing is very exciting now. We actually have the world champion (Wesley Brito). And you can swim with turtles here. People love it. You can do a lot of things. It’s a cultural and musical country. In April we will have the “Kriol Jazz Festival“which will take place on the island of Santiago.

AfricaNewsAnalysis/Niels: Thank you for the interview.