In the fifteenth century - a time of exploration and colonialism - Portuguese explorers were the first to colonise the archipelago. A century later, the islands were thriving thanks in part to their excellent strategic position close to major shipping routes. This was a mixed blessing in a way, as their wealth attracted the region's most prominent pirates.
After a few more centuries, the archipelago received a much more benign but equally notable visit from Charles Darwin during the famous voyage of the Beagle.
Today, the increasing success of this island nation with tourists over the past several years has fuelled a number of new developments and infrastructure improvements. This has created a positive cycle, making the islands more attractive still to tourists and further fuelling development.
The number of flights visiting the islands from the UK and other key markets has also increased, rendering the Cape Verde islands more accessible and further boosting its popularity. However, there is still a relative shortage of hotel accommodation to cater to this demand – partly thanks to strict legislation about the type of developments that can take place in order to protect the islands' character.
Cape Verde's popularity is largely driven by a beautiful, unspoiled landscape including delightfully scenic beaches, combined with a very warm climate. Precipitation is very low, and temperatures rarely drop below 20°C (70°F). The country is made up of an archipelago of ten separate volcanic islands, which have a combined land area of 1,557m2. One of the first islands to earn tourist prominence was Sal. Less than ten years ago, the island had relatively little to offer tourists but a number of well-placed stretches of land had already been snapped up by developers who could see potential.
Now, the island is home to a number of luxury resorts attracting visitors from around the world, and other islands on the archipelago have followed the same example. There are a number of factors besides the thriving tourist trade that are currently attracting property investors to the Cape Verde islands.
The country has one of the most stable democratic governments anywhere on the African continent, which places heavy emphasis on the development of energy, transport and communication infrastructure. The country's economic outlook seems bright; it has displayed a healthy, growing GDP in recent years, propped up by tourism alongside fishing and light manufacturing.
The country has a well-developed legal system based on that of Portugal – a useful heirloom from its colonial past which gives the country a stable and well-thought-out process for domestic and overseas property buyers. Foreign ownership of property is entirely unrestricted, and non-resident investors benefit from a number of readily-available finance options. Property purchases are subject to a transfer tax of 3%, and there is also an ongoing property holding tax at a low level of 3% on 25% of the property's total value per annum. The growing demand for tourist property along with a number of government-driven infrastructure projects provide plentiful opportunities for foreigners to invest their funds.
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