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

Botswana Egypt Morocco Tunisia ,

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.

Positive International Property Market Predictions for 2009

Bulgaria Cape Verde Egypt Tunisia

The financial landscape in 2008 has been dominated by dramatic declines on stock markets and currency crashes; this has resulted in instability in many nations’ economies as the very fundamentals upon which stable economic practices are built have been undermined. In the UK we’re living in a state where inflation is rising, interest rates are falling, our currency is declining in value and property prices are stagnating. All in all this presents a pretty bleak backdrop for would-be real estate investors, as well as for those hoping to get on the property ladder. Conversely however, in certain specific corners of the world, there are positive predictions for key property markets in 2009.

If you’re wondering how you can invest your money wisely in 2009, in an asset class where there’s not only the real potential for growth but where there’s the possibility of earning an income from your investment to boot, or if you’re looking for an alternative way to get on the property ladder in the UK if your chances of securing a mortgage in the short term are limited, the news that there are certain affordable property markets around the world built upon solid investment fundamentals is very welcome indeed. 
According to Agence France-Presse, one nation where there is intense international investment commitment supporting a construction and real estate boom is Tunisia. In a recent report the news agency highlighted the fact that the government´s pledge to change the law to allow foreigners the right to buy freehold property in the North African country has brought corporate investors and real estate developers from locations such as Dubai and Bahrain. Steve Worboys, MD of Experience International comments:
“The nation’s proximity to Europe, its increasing accessibility and underlying political and economic stability are supporting this level of investment commitment, and for an individual buyer looking for their own reasons to enter the property market in Tunisia, the nation’s tourism potential really makes it worth closer inspection.  According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the next decade will see strong consistent annual gains in terms of activity growth of around 4%. This is because the nation’s government and private sector investors are committing to a massive overhaul and diversification of the tourism product in Tunisia, and there is a national plan for the international promotion of tourism in Tunisia to 2016.”
Experience International handpick property development projects for their sagacious base of investors, and in Tunisia they have chosen The Dunes at El Kantaoui as being of maximum interest and potential for 2009 and beyond. The attractive low-rise apartment development has a beachside setting in a prime residential area close to Port El Kantaoui, and it boasts all the facilities one associates with the very best investment property projects such as a 36-hole golf course, a marina, restaurants and world-class spa facilities.  Prices start in the region of £20,000 for a studio apartment making this an ideal entry-level investment.
The second market that’s making the headlines for 2009 in terms of positive potential is Egypt. Steve Worboys comments: “here the WTTC are predicting annual gains of up to 7% for the next decade thanks to the intensive investment that the tourism market is enjoying. For would-be investors this is excellent news, and according to a report in Homes Overseas magazine, favourable tax rules are another reason that investors are being drawn to Egypt. The Jones Lang LaSalle Global Real Estate Transparency Index has placed Egypt in the 10 most improved countries around the world, and we’ve identified a particularly interesting project for our investors. Oasis Marina in Hurghada is located on its own private Red Sea beach, and it boasts excellent facilities such as a range of swimming pools, a spa, diving and aqua centres and a children’s club.  The development is apartment based making it ideal for jet-to-let investors for example, and prices start from just £35,873.”
Andy Parkin, an accountant from Canvey Island chose to invest an inheritance windfall at the Oasis Marina development, and he not only benefitted from a significant discount for purchasing his property with cash, but because he bought through the Experience International investment team, they negotiated him a 5 year guaranteed rental income as well as guaranteed personal usage of the property for 12 weeks. He explains why he chose Egypt: “this purchase has the element of investment that I was looking for, in Egypt there is the potential for future tourism growth thanks to the 10 year plan that the government has in place and the fact that the government is inwardly investing in their country is something to watch as is Egypt’s position as an emerging market.” 
Cape Verde is the third market under the spotlight for investors looking for the next big thing in 2009. Dubbed “the hidden Caribbean” by a Lonely Planet writer, this archipelago of beautiful sun-kissed islands enjoyed annual tourism gains in the region of 15% between 2004 and 2007 according to a report on the Assetz website, and the WTTC are predicting annual increases of up to 6% in the next decade. As the accessibility of the country and its tourism product develop, so it has been recognised that the potential for investment property bought in prime locations across the islands is immense. Steve Worboys is of the opinion that:
“We are only just beginning to see the tip of the property investment iceberg in Cape Verde, the predictions for this marketplace are exceptional both in terms of capital appreciation and year round rental returns. We have hand picked a prime development in the best location for our investors’ interest, namely the Dunas Beach Resort on Sal. It encapsulates the best of both worlds combining frontline sandy beaches on one side, and frontline golf on the other.  Located just a short walk from the centre of Santa Maria where there is an extensive array of beach clubs, bars and restaurants, this exclusive resort is set within lush community gardens and all apartments and villas have amazing tropical views.  The on site facilities include a commercial centre, a spa, pools and gymnasium. This is a high-end resort of maximum appeal and apartments start from £71,452 and detached villas from £214,456.
The final market that has made a comeback for 2009 is Bulgaria – and more specifically the winter sports resorts that the nation is becoming increasingly famous for. According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Bulgaria’s ski resorts such as Borovets are among the most affordable and therefore popular for Britons. And with the credit crunch and high inflation squeezing all pockets in the UK, the affordability of Bulgaria makes it highly enticing. Samantha Emery from Watford chose Bulgaria for her investment property purchase for the following reasons: “I didn’t have enough money to buy a house in the UK so I decided to buy a flat in the UK and an apartment in Bulgaria to help me save to buy a house in the future. The property I bought at the Pirin Golf and Country Club in Bansko is an investment through which I gain my profit from renting – in all honesty I cannot see how the Pirin Golf and Country Club will not succeed in making me money, after all it is a 5 star development in a prime location in one of the best ski resorts in Bulgaria!”
Samantha bought her property through the investment team at Experience International who currently have another stunning development available in the Telegraph’s ‘favourite of Borovets. Steve Worboys sums up its appeal: “Borovets Gardens is a luxury, gated studio and apartment resort set in a stunning pine forested mountain location. It has first class facilities such as a fitness club, sauna, restaurant and bar, and properties start from as little as £39,041. This means that this development is highly desirable with would-be tenants because of its location and superior facilities, and because entry level pricing is so attractive, the yields that investors can potentially enjoy are likely to be very handsome indeed.” 
For more information about any of the property investment hotspots highlighted for 2009, or any of the property developments featured, please contact Experience International on +44 (0)207 321 5858 or visit www.experience-international.com.

Tune in to Tunisia



Rapidly emerging as one of the most serious locations to consider for property investment purposes in the Mediterranean region, Tunisia is something of a new kid on the block; but it’s relatively fresh property market is built on incredibly strong base fundamentals making it worthy of much closer inspection. 
If you’re now wondering why you’ve not heard of Tunisia before as a location for holiday-home-type investment purchases, part of the reason is that the nation has recently just finalised legislation allowing for the transparent freehold ownership of real estate by foreign citizens; however, that’s just part of the picture.  In the past Tunisia has preferred to focus its internal efforts on reforms to introduce political pluralism and therefore stability, and to boost and reinforce the economy.  The government was wholly focused on the creation of a robust and stable nation before it sought international investment as it wanted to have the right platform in place to attract sustainable fiscal commitment.  Now it’s benefiting from hindsight and learning from the triumphs and also the trials of similar markets such as Egypt and Morocco, and Tunisia is going forward to create a healthy property-based economic sector.
As Tunisia’s economy has been ranked the most competitive in Africa and the Arab World in the Global Competitiveness Report from the World Economic Forum, and the International Monetary Fund predicts impressive GDP growth in Tunisia for the coming years making the nation’s growth predictions one of the highest in the Mediterranean region, serious investors are beginning to turn their collective and focused attentions on Tunisia.
With its 1,100 kilometres of sun caressed Mediterranean coastline, its fabulous resorts, incredible history, pristine beaches and very well established tourism industry which is on target for an average annual growth rate of 4.3% over the next decade according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, Tunisia has everything in place to build a healthy property market based largely on tourism. The nation is already highly accessible from across the whole of Europe; for example there are daily scheduled flights from the UK that take less than 2 ½ hours to reach Tunisia.  It’s also a country not solely reliant on British tourism demand – therefore there is demographic diversification in terms of visitor arrivals which lessens an investor’s risk and broadens their base letting potential. Tunisia is currently negotiating an Open Skies Agreement and there’s speculation that cheap flight operators such as Ryanair will follow – should this come to pass this will be yet another massive boost for both tourism and property market potential.
In terms of the potential already in place for an investor, according to Steve Worboys, MD of Experience International: “there’s strong and increasing demand for straightforward summer holiday accommodation in the most popular resorts such as exclusive Port El Kantaoui on Tunisia’s Gold Coast, and this is attracting investor commitment, but what’s more, the government is now actively working on the development of alternative types of tourism in Tunisia which further opens up investment potential.”  For example, Tunisia is the second most popular nation in the Mediterranean after France for thalassotherapy and the nation’s government wants to begin the further development and promotion of such alternative and high-end forms of tourism to draw greater numbers of wealthier visitor.  This will have a double impact for an investor, it will give them a greater base of demand to promote their property to and it will potentially allow for rental yield growth as wealthy demand will increase pressure on property availability, thus inflating underlying rental rates.

Golf tourism is another high-end area being actively developed, with five courses coming to completion across the nation’s key resorts in the coming five years.  Investors who want to get in ahead of the curve are being attracted to one of the first, most attractive golf resorts in ever-popular Port El Kantaoui.  The Dunes at El Kantaoui is a beautiful beachside development situated within reach of two main airports that offer direct and inexpensive flights to major European cities.  The apartment development is therefore highly accessible and it is close to all main facilities such as a 36-hole golf course, marina and restaurants.  The resort also features a thallasso spa, indoor swimming pool, Turkish baths, sauna, gym, beauty and massage treatment rooms, a restaurant, snack bar, supermarket and a rental management company.  Properties make an excellent investment or second home choice starting from only £20,000.  

Call Experience International on 0800 612 0901 or visit www.experience-international.com