Cape Verde is also not spared from a renewed increase in the number of people infected with the Corona virus. This also raises concerns about when the eagerly awaited tourists will start travelling to the country again. After all, countless livelihoods depend on tourism.
Corona-related Hotel Closures
Cape Verde thrives on tourism and invests in apprenticeships that belong to the hotel, gastronomy and tourism industries. But in April 2020, many hotels had to close their doors due to the Corona pandemic. This was also the case with the Morabeza hotel complex on the Cape Verdean island of Sal, one of the oldest hotels and a local institution. After closing in April 2020, the Morabeza was only finally allowed to reopen to tourists on 3 January 2021. However, guests are still scarce due to the global pandemic and difficult travel regulations. For many hotels and restaurants, it therefore still is not reasonable to open.
Training at the Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo de Cabo Verde (EHTCV)
The hotel closures also have a direct impact on the training of our scholarship holders. Since September 2019, they have been completing their 2-year training in hotel management at the Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo de Cabo Verde. At the time of the hotel closures, they were in their first internship phase. However, after only two weeks, they had to interrupt the internship and return to school. Likely, the second internship cannot take place in February 2021 as planned either. Yet it is precisely this practical experience with real guests that is of enormous importance. Despite practical lessons at school, it makes a difference to get to know the operational process directly at the hotel. By postponing the internship, the entire training process is delayed.
But That is Not All
Due to the Corona pandemic, the students’ dormitory was quickly converted into a Corona hospital. This forced the largest hotel school in Cape Verde to reduce the number of students from 250 to 40. Contact between the students is also very limited, with teaching taking place in two groups, alternating between mornings and afternoons, in order to reduce personal encounters even further. Moreover, no new trainees could be taken on for the 2020/2021 training year.
Impact of the Corona Crisis on Working Life
The effects of the Corona pandemic have also been painfully felt on the labour market. Many people have already lost their jobs due to the closure of hotels. Many employment contracts in the hospitality sector in Cape Verde are limited to a few months anyway.
This is affecting entire families. Students who had to support their families financially before the Corona crisis are having a particularly hard time. With the loss of many jobs, there are almost no part-time jobs for students or pupils at the moment.
Training or Job?
Our scholarship holders also report that this situation presents them with a difficult decision. Give up their training to look for a permanent job outside the hospitality sector so that they can support their family – or complete their training to have a better long-term outlook for the future. So far, all scholarship holders have decided to continue, a decision we fully support!
Return of Tourism to Cape Verde
At the end of December 2020, tourism began to resume on the Cape Verdean islands. To encourage tourism, the prices for tourist offers have been reduced by 8 %. The first tourists to land on Cape Verde after the outbreak of the Corona pandemic were from Poland. The charter flight with about 200 passengers landed on the island of Sal at the end of December 2020.
Another ray of hope is the opening of new hotels on Cape Verde such as the 5-star all-inclusive Riu Palace Santa Maria hotel with 1,001 rooms. The opening is planned for February 2021.
Corona Vaccines for Cape Verde
The Cape Verdean government was able to announce a positive progress on 21 January 2021: Cape Verde has 15 million Dollars available for the acquisition of vaccines. According to this, vaccination is guaranteed for 95% of the population. However, a date for the start of vaccination is not yet known.
Call of the Ministry of Health
Nevertheless, the Ministry of Health again appeals to the population to continue to observe the distance rules and to wear a face mask. In addition, new travel regulations have been made:
- National travel: Presentation of a negative rapid test
- International Travel: Presentation of a negative PCR test
In principle, tourists are thus allowed to spend their vacation in Cape Verde again. However, the travel restrictions of other countries, the drastically reduced number of flights and of travel offers severely limit tourism in reality. It remains to be seen how quickly tourism will recover from this.