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Date: 22/09/2017
Visa-free access for EU passport holders



Cape Verde will exempt European Union citizens from needing visas to visit the West African archipelago as it strives to boost tourism, which is vital to its economy, according to the prime minister.
Visa-free access for EU passport holders should begin in 2018, Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva said while in Praia, the capital. The exemption is part of a raft of proposals that includes privatizing the ailing state-owned airline, improving management of its airports and growing crops for export so that gross domestic product can expand at a faster rate than the forecast of 5 percent for this year, he said.
The dominant sector is tourism and were making strong investments to improve the islands as a destination, Correia e Silva said. We also want to diversify the economy so that we dont put all the eggs in the tourism basket.
The Atlantic Ocean country of 10 main islands, some surrounded by beaches, has about 550,000 people and attracted as many tourists last year. The total contribution of tourism was estimated to account for 44 percent of GDP in 2016, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Last week, the council of ministers approved financial incentives for foreigners to invest in Cape Verde, which will include residency, he said.
Its not just for tourism, but its to facilitate the mobility of investors, academics, culture, science and technology, Correia e Silva said.
The government is also hoping to move tourism from a resort-concentrated model to an industry that will see each of the islands provide different offerings. The islands of Sal and Boavista have beaches, while other islands could offer adventure experiences, he said.
Tourism has enabled development in agriculture from a subsistence-based system to one that caters for visitors and requires better distribution, inter-island transport and logistics, he said.
Cape Verde is also looking for export opportunities to the EU for niche agricultural products like papaya fruit, which grows easily on the islands, Correia e Silva said. (Bloomberg)



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