“Africa always brings something new” (Pliny the Elder)– Why this rich continent is looking to a bright future

A somewhat less mainstream holiday destination, Africa remains a largely untapped continent for international visitors but one whose tourism sector is significantly on the increase with the World Travel & Tourism Council having reported growth in tourism on the continent of 5.9% in 2008, greater than the global average of 3.0%. Not only this but with a great deal to offer all travellers, from a welcome sunshine getaway to an adventurous escape, Africa is set to share some of its hidden secrets to a growing number of privileged visitors in the coming years – with the World Travel & Tourism Council reporting that Africa’s travel and tourism industry is likely to contribute 9.4% to the continent’s GDP over the coming 10 years – there is a bright future ahead.

An exciting array of wildlife, a generally warm and sunny climate and varied and captivating landscapes can be said to be offered by all parts of this the second most expansive continent in the world. As one of the most diverse continents, Africa has an arguably unrivalled richness and variety, with countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Botswana, for example, all offering something different to those looking to visit – and perhaps also as places to invest.

Colourful Morocco is one of the most well-known of Africa’s destinations, having founded itself both as an exotic holiday location as well as an exciting property investment choice, close to the hearts of many. Just three hours’ flight time from the UK has made Morocco a popular choice for visitors and in response to this popularity, a wealth of property developments have sprung up around the key tourist areas driven by King Mohammed VI’s ‘Vision 2010’, a national focus on increasing the country’s tourism industry and in turn industry profit. Morocco’s aim was to increase tourist numbers from 4.5 million in 2000 to 10 million in 2010 and in response to this national focus, the country is well and truly on track – with 2008 figures showing tourist numbers had increased to 7.88 million, revealing Morocco as a destination of growth where investors can financially benefit.
The resort of Apple Gardens in the tourist hotspot and capital city of Marrakech not only takes advantage of the growth in Morocco’s tourist industry – with 15% annual capital growth predicted – but also the myriad of cultures that define the country – just 15 minutes from the city centre yet boasting breathtaking views of the rugged Atlas Mountains as well as being close to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Djamaa El Fna Square. Apple Gardens is a beautiful boutique gated development with an array of first-class facilities and three bedroom town houses (from £188,711/ €213,134) and three bedroom villas (from £220,141 / €248,632), each available with individual courtyards, stunning roof terraces and a private pool with stunning views.
Though also in Northern Africa, Tunisia offers something different for the seasoned traveller, with a property market in its infancy for foreign buyers due to relatively new legislation to allow and encourage foreign ownership of property in the country. Tipped as one of the top emerging property markets, Tunisia is taking its stance firmly in the global limelight, and this is set to further increase in coming years. The Global Competitiveness Report 2008-2009 ranked Tunisia the top African country when looking at a number of factors including infrastructure, health and primary education, technological readiness and financial market sophistication, making looking to the future bright for the country and in turn for those looking to invest in property. Not only this but the newly signed Open Skies Agreement which will allow European, American, Canadian and Arabic airlines to operate freely in Tunisian airspace, along with the construction of a new airport at Enfidha on the Gold Coast, all point towards a predicted significant growth in the numbers of those visiting Tunisia.
Steve Worboys, MD of emerging property market specialists Experience International, agrees,
“The Tunisian government are now very keen to encourage foreign investment in property and also in turn to grow Tunisia’s established tourism industry. This is therefore a fantastic time to buy either a holiday home or an investment property in the country, with rental income and property prices set to grow in the coming years and the Gold Coast is one region where we foresee an increase in both its tourist and property markets over the next few years.”
The Dunes at El Kantaoui is an exclusive resort located next to a private white sandy beach on Tunisia’s Gold Coast, between two of the country’s busiest airports and offers on-site world class Thallasso Spa facilities including Turkish baths, sauna and beauty and massage treatment rooms. The resort boasts studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments, with prices starting at just £20,646 / TND$40,531 for a studio.
If historical significance, cultural splendour and a slightly more established property market is more your thing then perhaps Egypt should be your destination of choice. The warm desert climate and luxurious properties being built at reasonable prices have meant that Egypt has positioned itself as a popular holiday destination, with the ABTA 2009 Travel Trends Report recognising the country’s magnetism,
“As recession bites in the UK and consumers look closely at their budgets, Egypt will keep popping up as a good bargain option. For the past few years holidaymakers have been drawn to the country’s Red Sea resorts… attracted by the promise of good weather within a five-hour flight of home, top-class hotels and bargain prices.”
As ABTA have recognised, the Red Sea is one area specifically that is witnessing significant growth in its tourism prospects and it is here that Veranda is located: an exclusive gated resort set on a long white sandy beach with crystal clear waters. The resort boasts stunning views as well as a wide range of excellent facilities that include swimming pools with waterfalls, tennis courts, a luxury spa, gym and restaurants. Well-situated to take full advantage of the burgeoning tourist market – which the World Travel and Tourism Council predicts will grow Egypt’s GDP by 5.8% annually over the next 10 years – Veranda is just 15 minutes from Hurghada International Airport. Exotic gardens surround the properties which range from studios, one and two bedroom apartments to three bedroom townhouses and four bedroom villas, with prices starting at £39,690 / €44,827 for a studio.
If instead it is more of a lifestyle investment that you are looking for, and ecological and ethical returns are of significance, the bushlands of Botswana may well hold the answer. This more southerly country is a truly different corner of Africa and in turn holds a wealth of unique and extraordinary wildlife that is bound to amaze and to enrapt and it is also here that a balance of tourism and environmental responsibility is being closely worked on by the government, with Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Honourable Onkokame Kitso Mokaila having commented,
“Travel & Tourism will contribute enormously to the country’s economy and we are committed to running a conscious campaign to publicise the strategic role and benefits of tourism in order to stimulate a more positive perception to the wider public.”
The Limpopo-Lipadi Game and Wilderness Reserve is one project that is setting the standard for this mix of environmental awareness and eco tourism in Botswana. Covering an expanse of over 80,000 acres, the reserve offers a unique investment opportunity to become part of this project that aims to educate and enrich through working to a strict ecosystem and conservation model. Visit Botswana, become part of the decision-making process surrounding the reserve, learn about the country’s unique species through local knowledge courses, sleep in game hides or tree platforms and even train to become a game ranger, the Limpopo-Lipadi Game and Wilderness Reserve will broaden your horizons and teach the wide variety of experiences that Africa has to offer.
Not only this, but the award-winning Limpopo-Lipadi Game and Wilderness Reserve also offers a unique financial investment opportunity, as Alan Marneweck, founder and share holder of the reserve comments,
“The exclusivity of Limpopo-Lipadi is reflected in the amount of shares available and this is an appealing feature to those who are looking for a unique investment… Another development in the area has seen returns of 300% over 5 years so capital gain on your investment is achievable.” This combined with the fact that Botswana has been tipped by the World Travel & Tourism Council over the next ten years to see “annualised real growth of 5%, exceeding the average for both the world and sub-Saharan Africa” means that the Limpopo-Lipadi Game and Wilderness Reserve is an all-round excellent investment choice – both ethically and financially. Entry level investment is $195,000.
For more information on investing in Morocco, Tunisia or Egypt contact Experience International on 0207 321 5858 or visit www.experience-international.com.
For more information on investing in Botswana contact Limpopo-Lipadi on 0871 244 5152 or visit http://www.limpopo-lipadi.com.