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Tourism & Management Studies

versão impressa ISSN 2182-8458

TMStudies vol.10 no.1 Faro jan. 2014




Local residents’ attitudes towards the impact of tourism development in Cape Verde


Actitudes de la población residente hacia el impacto del desarrollo turístico en Cabo Verde



Sandra María Sánchez CañizaresI; Julia M. Núñez TabalesII; Fernando J. Fuentes GarcíaIII

IUniversity of Cordoba, Faculty of Economics, Department of Statistics, Business Organization and Applied Economy, Puerta Nueva s/n, 14071, Córdoba, Spain,
IIUniversity of Cordoba, Faculty of Economics, Department of Statistics, Business Organization and Applied Economy, 14071, Córdoba, Spain,
IIIUniversity of Cordoba, Faculty of Economics Department of Statistics, Business Organization and Applied Economy, 14071, Córdoba, Spain,




The attitudes and perceptions of local communities or residents are of special interest when examining and managing the economic, socio-cultural and environmental aspects of tourism development in a given area. In this paper, we analyse the perceptions and attitudes of residents in an emerging tourist destination: the island country of Cape Verde (Africa). A survey and multivariate analysis is used for the analysis. More specifically, we focus on the island of São Vicente, an enclave that has remained relatively isolated from foreign tourism until fairly recently, and which is currently experiencing a tourism boom that is altering the way of life of local residents. The results reveal that, in general terms, the local community perceives that tourism brings economic opportunities – especially for a population whose traditional fate was to emigrate – and has other positive impacts such as increased investments in infrastructures and higher quality hospitality and retail establishments.

Keywords: Residents, attitudes, perception, tourism, management.


Las actitudes y percepciones de las comunidades locales y de los residentes son de especial interés a la hora de examinar y gestionar los aspectos económicos, socioculturales y medioambientales asociados al desarrollo turístico en una zona. En este artículo se analizan las percepciones y actitudes de los residentes de un destino turístico emergente: el archipiélago de Cabo Verde (África). Para dicho análisis se ha aplicado una encuesta diseñada al efecto y un análisis de tipo multivariante. En concreto, se ha focalizado el estudio en la isla de São Vicente, un enclave que ha permanecido relativamente aislado del turismo extranjero hasta fechas recientes, en que ha experimentado un boom turístico que está modificando el modo de vida de los residentes. Los resultados ponen de manifiesto que, en términos generales, la comunidad local percibe que el turismo está proporcionando oportunidades económicas -especialmente para la población destinada originalmente a la emigración- y que igualmente supone otros impactos positivos como el incremento de las inversiones en infraestructuras y la mayor calidad en la hostelería y los pequeños comercios.

Palabras-clave: residentes, actitudes, percepción, turismo, gestión.



1.   Introduction

In recent decades, the tourism sector has increased its contribution to global GDP, although important differences still exist across countries. As a result of this expansion, there is growing interest in the study of the impact of tourism development on surrounding environments.

In this paper, tourism is understood as the temporary movement of people to destinations outside of their normal place of work and residence, as well as those activities undertaken during their stay in a given destination and the facilities created to cater to their needs (Mathieson & Wall, 1982). Cultural interactions between local residents and tourists during their stay are common and give rise to changes in the quality of life of both individuals and communities by affecting value systems, family divisions and relationships, attitudes, behavioural patterns and expressions of creativity (Fox, 1977; Cohen, 1984; Pizam & Milman, 1984).

Two major events, in particular, influence changes in the quality of life of the local community: tourist-resident relationships, and the development of the tourism industry itself (Puczko & Ratz, 2000).

In order to stimulate tourism development in a given geographic location, it is vital to gain the cooperation of a number of stakeholders (Lanquar, 1985; Vargas Sanchés, Plaza Mejía & Porras Bueno, 2007), particularly destination communities, coastal and inland locations, as well as public agencies, tourism agents and promoters, and tourists themselves. In addition, it is essential to take into account the perceptions and attitudes of local residents when designing tourism development policies (Allen, Long, Perdue & Kieselbach, 1988; Ap, 1992; Diedrich & García-Buades, 2009; Gursoy, Jurowski & Uysal, 2002; Ritchie & Inkari, 2006).

This type of research is justified in that more effective tourism development models can be designed if we know the reasons why residents give or withhold their support for tourism development in their local community. Further, it is important to focus on the conflicts of interest that may arise between local residents and the authorities responsible for local tourism development plans as it will otherwise be impossible to offer quality tourism that enhances perceived benefits and reduces the negative impacts of tourism (Gursoy et al., 2002; Royo & Ruiz, 2009).

With a view to involving local residents in tourism policies, it is essential that residents have a positive attitude towards tourism development in their community. When this is not the case, unsatisfied, apathetic or unhappy residents will ultimately transmit their feelings to tourists, who, in turn, are likely to be reluctant to visit destinations where they feel unwelcome (Fridgen, 1991; Royo & Ruiz, 2009). Moreover, the local residents will be unwilling to work in the tourism industry, there will be fewer entrepreneurial and innovative initiatives, and resident-tourist interactions will also very likely be negative (Pearce, 1998; Díaz & Gutiérrez, 2010).

In short, given that resident behaviour is an essential aspect of the tourism product, the ultimate goal is to understand and subsequently manage residents’ attitudes and seek support for the area’s tourism development model (Akis, Peristianis & Warner, 1996; Díaz & Gutiérrez, 2010).

In this paper we analyse the attitudes of residents in an emerging tourism destination: the island country of Cape Verde (Africa), specifically the inhabitants of São Vicente Island, which is currently experiencing a tourism boom that is altering the way of life of its residents.

To determine the attitudes of the residents of São Vicente, we conducted a survey of 298 residents from June to September 2011. Respondents were asked about their personal opinions of tourism on the island, as well as its positive and negative impacts.

In the geographical scope of this article and under the theme of analysis we would like to acknowledge the following contributions: Simão and Môsso (2013) about the case of Sal Island, as well as Ribeiro, Valle and Silva (2013).


2.   Attitude: concept and contributions to the field of tourism

A first approach to the concept of attitude is that of “a mental and neural state of readiness, organised through experience, exerting a directive and dynamic influence upon the individual’s response to all objects and situations with which it is related” (Allport, 1935). Attitude has also been defined as a process that leads an individual to behave in a particular manner with respect to an object or stimulus (Summers, 1982).

Rosenberg and Hovland (1960) proposed a three-component model to explain how attitudes are formed. Their model includes a cognitive component (an individual’s thoughts and beliefs regarding an object), an affective component (an individual’s favourable or unfavourable feeling towards an object based on the aforementioned cognitive component) and a behavioural component (an individual’s effective action or behaviour with respect to an object). The latter component does not always exist, that is, the individual may have an unfavourable attitude toward an object, but may never act on it.

Attitudes are not innate, but are acquired over time through a learning process influenced by external and internal factors (i.e., family, social groups, experience, personality, etc.).

In the literature, as well as in organisations that manage tourism activities in given destinations, visitor satisfaction surveys are very common, even analysing the impact of tourism in the quality of life of travellers (Carneiro and Eusébio, 2011); however, surveys of resident satisfaction are less frequent. In the 1960s, researchers focused exclusively on the positive impacts of tourism in developed regions and even more so in less developed regions (Swain, Brent & Long, 1998). As an example of this, Spain, in particular, is a country where tourism was especially important during the 1960s, when the completely open yet perhaps slightly disorderly growth model received no criticisms or restrictions at the time. From the 1970s onwards, the analysis of residents’ opinions became increasingly important, with the number of studies that examine tourism from the perspective of residents growing considerably in recent decades (Harrill, 2004; Monterrubio, 2008).

Following Vargas Sánchez et al. (2007) and our review of the literature, in the discussion below we highlight the main contributions of several authors in this field of study:

§  From the second half of the 1970s, most studies focused on the situation of a specific location at a given moment in time when tourism was already a major source of income for the area. It would not be until after the 1970s that studies began to examine the negative impacts of tourism development (Marrero, 2006).

§  Very few studies have explored the impact of tourism development as perceived by the local community before development takes place, or before members of the community realise that tourism is a sector with growth potential in a region (Keogh, 1990; Hernández, Cohen & García, 1996).

§  A large number of studies have focused on residents’ perceptions regarding the impacts of tourism. However, it should be noted that other approaches are now being developed. For example, there are studies which centre on residents’ perceptions regarding the development of tourism policies by the public authorities involved (Ishikawa & Fukushige, 2006), those which analyse how residents’ attitudes towards tourism development affects their behaviour (Lepp, 2004), and others that analyse the relationship between residents’ perceptions of the impact of tourism and community satisfaction (Ko & Steward, 2002). A further approach takes into account the impacts of tourism perceived by residents and the level of tourism development in the area (Long, Perdue & Allen, 1990; Allen, Hafer, Long & Perdue, 1993). According to Butler (1980) and Díaz and Martínez (2002), residents’ attitudes change as tourism develops.

§  As regards the statistical techniques used, many studies have focused on the relationship between the variables that determine residents’ attitudes towards tourism (Lindberg & Johnson, 1997; Ko & Steward, 2002; Jurowski & Gursoy, 2004; Dyer, Gursoy, Sharma & Carter, 2008).


3.   Benefits and costs of tourism

Social Exchange Theory holds that individuals select their interactions after evaluating their costs and benefits (Homans, 1961). According to this theory, attitudes are affected by the perception of the interactions that individuals believe they are performing. In short, individuals who stand to gain personally from tourism also perceive greater economic benefits and fewer negative social and environmental impacts arising from tourism development than those who do not (Getz, 1994).

Much of the research on this subject has found that host communities are influenced by the perceived impact of tourism in three basic cost-benefit categories: economic, environmental and social (Murphy, 1985; Gunn, 1988; Gee, Mackens & Choy, 1989; McIntosh & Goeldner, 1990; Gursoy et al., 2002; Vargas Sanchés et al., 2007). Some authors break the “social” category down into two further categories, social and cultural, and thus consider four categories of factors.

According to Díaz and Gutiérrez (2010), given that several impacts can converge in several dimensions or categories, more or less relevant impact-dimensions can be observed according to groups or segments. The interests of each group of residents will differ in terms of their predisposition towards tourism depending on how they are affected by the different dimensions.

Both positive and negative social, environmental, cultural and economic impacts are closely linked. Some studies have concluded that it is likely that residents of economically depressed regions will underestimate the costs of tourism development and overestimate the economic benefits such development will bring (Liu & Var, 1986; Sheldon & Var, 1984; Var, Kendall & Tarakcoglu, 1985). As a result, it would seem feasible that the poorer the perception of the state of the local economy, the better the community’s reaction to tourism (Cater, 1987; Harris, McLaughlin & Brown, 1998).

Residents will have a more favourable attitude towards tourism development provided they perceive a positive outcome from their relationship with tourists and tourism activity (Allen et al., 1993). However, due to the heterogeneity of the destination community, there will always be groups that support tourism development when they see that an exchange is beneficial to their well-being, while others will oppose it if they feel that the exchange will somehow be detrimental to them.

In its guide for local administrators, the World Tourism Organization acknowledges a number of positive and negative socioeconomic impacts of tourism (see Table 1).The environmental dimension of tourism also has both positive and negative aspects: tourism can be the basis for  protecting natural resources and conserving homogeneous urban designs (Díaz & Gutiérrez, 2010) or, in contrast, a tourism model in which visitor numbers are controlled – although managed to some extent by local authorities – could be geared towards specific individual goals.


4.   Factors that influence residents’ attitudes

It is of vital importance to understand the combination of factors that influence residents’ attitudes and condition the degree to which they over evaluate or under evaluate (positive and negative) the various impacts mentioned in the previous section. In examining residents’ attitudes, it is also important to highlight certain aspects such as the type and degree of interaction between residents and tourists, the importance of the industry for the community, the level of visitor involvement with the tourism sector, and the general level of development of the host community (Murphy, 1985). In addition to these general factors, other more specific factors should also be considered such as having been born in the community (Um & Crompton, 1987; Cannan & Hennessy, 1989), the length of time an individual has lived in the community (Liu & Var, 1986), age and educational level (Allen et al., 1988), the level of tourism concentration in the community (Pizam, 1978), economic dependence on the tourism industry (Long et al., 1990; Madrigal, 1993), and the distance between place of residence and tourism activities (Belisle & Hoy, 1980; Sheldon & Var, 1984).

According to Royo and Ruiz (2009), the factors that influence the perceived costs and benefits of tourism include the level of dependence on tourism, the level of local tourism development, the use of tourism resources by residents, and feelings towards the community and commitment to the community. These factors or determinants can vary the intensity or the direction of the impact either positively or negatively.

Moreover, Díaz and Gutiérrez (2010) argue that there are three moderating factors that affect the impact of tourism on the local community: tourists, the destination (the sector of tourism activity) and the socio-demographic characteristics of the residents.


5.   Geography, history and economy of the study area

Cape Verde is an island state that comprises an archipelago of ten volcanic islands and eight islets. It is located south of the Canary Islands and around 450 km from Senegal (Figure 1). The total area of the archipelago covers 4,033 square kilometres, of which only 11% is arable, and boasts a population of 516,000 inhabitants in addition to a similar number of Cape Verdeans who live abroad. The Cape Verde islands are divided into two groups: the northern Barlavento or Windward Islands and the southern Sotavento or Leeward Islands. The first group  comprises the islands of Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia (uninhabited), São Nicolau, Sal, and Boa Vista, while the second group comprises the islands of Santiago (which hosts the nation’s capital, Praia), Fogo, Maio, and Brava.



Cape Verde has a subtropical climate, with an average annual temperature of 24ºC. The archipelago has two distinct seasons: the dry season, which runs from October to July, with the hottest month being September, and the wet season, which runs from August to October. Rainfall is very irregular on some islands, while on others it may not rain for several years.

The uninhabited islands were discovered by the Portuguese navigator Diogo Gomes in 1460, giving the Crown of Portugal the strategic position it needed to expand its trade routes throughout Southern Africa. As a result, the islands were colonised by the Portuguese, who were granted exclusive trade rights along the West African Coast as well as the possibility of exploiting African slaves (ICEX, 2012).

Well into the sixteenth century, the archipelago declined in importance as a hub on the trade routes between Europe and South America. Following decolonisation in the twentieth century, Cape Verde gained independence in 1975. Between 1975 and 1991, Cape Verde established the First Republic (1975-1991), which was characterised by an interventionist economic policy and autarkic development based on centralised planning and the dominance of the public sector (ICEX, 2012).

In 1991, the Constitution was amended and a multi-party democracy was established, making Cape Verde the first sub-Saharan African country to hold free elections. In the same decade, a process was initiated to open up the country to the market economy and other nations. Cape Verde also made important investments in education and health, thus converging towards a European model by privatising and liberalising certain sectors. However, Cape Verde still remains dependent on foreign aid, especially from the European Union.

According to the ICEX report (2011), Cape Verde is now considered one of the African countries with the greatest political freedom, as well as freedom of the press and civil rights, meaning that the country now enjoys political stability and a low level of corruption compared to neighbouring African countries.

According to the United Nations Human Development Report (2012), Cape Verde is now in the group of countries with medium human development, ranking 133 out of the 187 countries evaluated. The global crisis has affected the Cape Verdean economy and its macroeconomic variables given the negative impact of the reduction in direct foreign investment flows and tourism. However, the country has not experienced a sharp contraction in economic activity, with GDP growth estimated at 5.5% in 2011 (ICEX, 2011).

Cape Verde is heavily dependent on imports, including food, owing to the lack of arable land and the prolonged absence of rainfall. Tourist arrivals and remittances from emigrants offset the country’s structural trade balance deficit.

Since 1999, imports to Cape Verde have been liberalised and preferential agreements with the European Union have facilitated exports. In 2007, the country joined the World Trade Organization. Import licenses have been replaced by simple import declarations.

Tourism is gradually becoming the main source of employment and economic growth, with a steady growth in the number of visitors and total overnight stays (Figure 2). The contribution of tourism to GDP growth has increased considerably in recent years (from 4% in 1998 to 25% in 2010).



The tourism policy of the Cape Verdean government is aimed at improving infrastructures, in particular by increasing the number of international airports on the islands. There are plans to build new international airports on the islands of Santiago and Maio. The archipelago’s national airline, TACV (Cabo Verde Airlines), is the focus of a reengineering plan and is expected to be privatised in the future. One of the goals of privatisation is to increase long-haul international flights and thus facilitate the arrival of tourists to the islands.

According to the Cape Verde National Statistics Office (INECV, 2012), the main inbound tourism markets to the country are the United Kingdom (19%), France (14%), Portugal (14%), Germany (13%), Italy (12%) and Benelux (5.1%).

In 2010, Cape Verde ranked eightieth on the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) published by the World Economic Forum, which evaluates improvements in tourism policies, the business environment in the tourism sector, and infrastructures. The boost in the tourism sector has had an impact on the development of the construction sector, in which many projects have been funded by foreign investors, considerably increasing the number of hotels. According to ICEX (2011), around 90% of foreign investment flows in Cape Verde are targeted at tourism. In 2011, the number of available overnight lodgings exceeded 17,000 (Figure 3), having almost doubled in recent years. The most visited islands are Boa Vista and Sal (cornering 39% and 35% of visitors in 2011, respectively), with Santiago and São Vicente being slightly less popular. The country received 475,000 tourists in 2011 compared to 287,000 in 2009. The hotel industry accounted for almost 25% of GDP in 2011.



Foreign trade operations are controlled by the Central Bank of Cape Verde, which gave its seal of approval to import declarations in order to guarantee the provision of currency for the payment of goods.

Foreign investment in Cape Verde has become very important in recent years, according to the state investment and tourism promotion agency Cabo Verde Investimentos, investments exceeded 800 million euros in 2008. Investment is targeted primarily at tourism development and the privatisation of public enterprises. In 2007, the Enacol petrochemical company, the SCT tobacco company, and other similar companies were privatised. There are currently various incentives to invest in the country. The main investors in Cape Verde belong to the European Union: the main investors in 2008 were Italy (€310 million), Portugal (€256 million), Ireland (€120 million), Spain (€108 million) and the United Kingdom (€34 million). Large hotel chains such as RIU, Meliá and Iberostar are promoting development based primarily on resort-type hotels with all-inclusive tourism packages.


6.   Local residents’ perception of the impacts of tourism development on the Island of São Vicente

This section is divided into three sub-sections. In the first subsection we analyse the study sample in order to obtain the sociodemographic characteristics of the residents. Following the analysis, we examine residents’ perceptions of the impacts of tourism development. Finally, a cluster analysis is performed on residents’ evaluation of the available services on the island.

6.1 Sample analysis

Table 2 shows the socio-demographic characteristics of the residents from the island of São Vicente that comprise the study sample. As can be seen in the table, the sample comprises primarily young people (over 87% of the respondents are aged 44 and under, while over 55% are aged 30 and under) and habitual island residents (more than 65% have been living in São Vicente for over 20 years). Most of the respondents are single, and have completed secondary school or baccalaureate, although a significant percentage of the respondents (21.5%) are university graduates. The majority of respondents (84.4%) earn a monthly income of less than 65,000 Cape Verdean escudos. The sample also includes a large number of students and salaried employees. The residents of Cape Verde generally speak several languages. As well as Portuguese and Creole, which are the most widely-spoken languages, 44.6% of the  residents surveyed also speak English and 35.14% speak French. This is probably due to the fact that many of the residents on the island are university graduates.

As regards the relationship between the island’s residents and the tourism sector, we found that a small percentage (18%) have or have had a job in the sector; a figure that doubles in the case of residents whose relatives also work in the tourism sector. However, the large majority of the residents interviewed (60.2%) indicated that they would like to work in the tourism sector in the future.

6.2 perception of the impact of tourism development

The block of the questionnaire that analysed residents’ perceptions of the impacts of tourism development on the island of São Vicente consisted of 35 items divided into six sections: economic, socio-cultural, and environmental impacts, each one in a positive and negative version. It is interesting to note that the residents stated that tourism contributes to recovering traditional handicrafts, with a score of more than 4 points. High scores were also found for degree of agreement with the statement that tourism increases investments and the development of infrastructures, in addition to the quality of the hospitality and retail sectors, and the sensation that residents feel proud about belonging to the island owing to the amount of tourists who visit it.

As regards resident’s perceptions of the negative impacts of tourism, the degree of agreement is generally lower and in many cases below the 3-point mean. Higher average degrees of agreement were found for impacts related to the increase in alcoholism and sexual permissiveness and more robberies and vandalism. This is due to the greater sense of insecurity perceived by citizen in recent times.  

In general, the results (Table 3) show a certain degree of agreement (the means are usually above 3 points) for the positive impacts of tourism. In addition, we built a cumulative index for each of the blocks of questions by calculating the average of the items that constitute them, in order to use each type of impact as an aggregate variable in the subsequent regression model (Table 4).

The variables that were considered relevant in defining residents’ overall opinion about tourism development on the island of São Vicente were measured using the following three items:

§  Agrees with greater tourism development in the area (Destur);

§  Considers that tourism development can benefit them personally (Bopers);

Considers that the benefits of tourism outweigh the costs (Bo>cos).

The variables were first measured using a 5-point semantic differential scale. The descriptive results and correlations between the three variables are presented in Table 5. The results show that the majority of the respondents are in favour of greater tourism development in the area owing to the positive benefits to be gained from such development. However, the respondents are more divided regarding the perception that tourism development entails personal gains or that the benefits of tourism outweigh the costs arising from the influx of visitors. In addition, a significant correlation was only found between the degree of agreement with more tourism development on the island and the perception that it can contribute to personal benefit.



In a second step, we built three multiple linear regression models to determine the influence of the perception indices on positive and negative economic, socio-cultural, and environmental impacts on the three previous dependent variables (Table 6) and to what extent each impact contributes to residents’ global evaluation of the benefits of tourism in São Vicente.

The residual plots in the three models show no signs of heteroscedasticity. Furthermore, Durbin-Watson values ​​close to 2 do not support the existence of autocorrelation. Finally, VIF below critical value of 10 and tolerance for each explanatory variable in the three models have not detected the existence of multicollinearity.

Based on the analysis of the coefficients of each model, we can conclude that the perception that tourism brings positive economic impacts has a higher weighting. This is because it is the only statistically significant variable in the evaluation of the personal benefits residents believe they might gain, as well as in the cost-benefit balance. However, when residents state their opinion about the desirability of more tourism development in São Vicente, positive and negative socio-cultural impacts and potential adverse environmental impacts play an important role in their evaluation, which in this case is not influenced by economic elements.

6.3 Cluster analysis on the evaluation of services on the island

Finally, we performed a cluster analysis to identify groups of residents which evaluated the services available on São Vicente in a similar manner. The items included in this block were measured using a 5-point Likert scale to analyse the perception of residents regarding: Public services, Educational system, Environment, Leisure opportunities, Economy (Cost of living, businesses and employment opportunities), Cohesion and social opportunities, Transportation (Airports, seaports and land transportation) and Utilities (Electricity, water and internet).

Three clusters were obtained using a k-means analysis (Table 7). The reason to opt for three groups was that it achieves a more consistent number of cases among clusters and shows clearer information about them. An Anova analysis was carried out to validate the results; according to it, all items showed significant differences between clusters.



The first cluster consists of 91 residents who positively evaluated the island’s transportation services, whether by air, land or sea. When filtering this group, we found that it primarily comprised men and students with some knowledge of languages ​​who showed a greater degree of agreement with the development of tourism on the island.

The respondents in the second group, which consists of 78 individuals, stated that they were more satisfied with aspects such as the educational system, public services and sea transport systems; however, they were also particularly sensitive to the malfunctioning of electricity and water supplies. After filtering, it was revealed that this group has the highest knowledge of languages of the three clusters and primarily comprises salaried employees. Although the respondents said that tourism development was generally positive, a certain percentage was indifferent or stated that tourism development was negative.

The third cluster, with 101 residents, is the largest of the three. The respondents in this cluster had the most negative perception of tourism given that they rated all the items below the 3-point mark. They were especially critical of utilities, the island’s economy and the leisure opportunities of São Vicente. Unlike the previous two groups, this group comprises almost entirely women, 89.2% of whom belong to the 18 to 44 age range. Although most are residents who have lived on the island for over 20 years, a significant number (19.8%) have only been living on São Vicente for 2 to 6 years. Although a certain percentage of individuals in the group stated that they spoke English (38.6%) or French (29.7%), the knowledge of languages among the respondents in this cluster was lower than in the previous two groups. The most frequent employment status in this group was salaried employee and student. This group strongly agreed with increasing tourism development in the area, although 56.4% stated that they believed that they would not benefit personally from it and 58.2% did not have a clear or positive opinion regarding the possibility that the benefits of tourism would outweigh the costs on the island.


7. Conclusions

In order to ensure the success of tourism development plans in a geographic area, it is vital to take into account diverse groups of stakeholders; and especially the perceptions and attitudes of the local community regarding the impact of tourism development from an economic, socio-cultural and environmental point of view.

In this study, we analysed the perceptions and attitudes of the inhabitants of the island of São Vicente in the Cape Verde archipelago. São Vicente is an emerging tourist destination in comparison to the neighbouring islands of Sal and Boa Vista, which are undergoing major changes as a result of the massive influx of tourists. Our results have shown that:

1)    Residents’ attitudes toward tourism development and its impacts differ depending on the domains affected by such development. For example, when analysing the personal benefits that could be gained from tourism, we find that economic impacts are statistically significant. However, when examining the advantages to increasing tourism development on the island, socio-cultural and environmental impacts are more influential than economic impacts.

2)    The majority of residents are in favour of continuing with the plan to increase tourist arrivals owing to the positive benefits that tourism development can bring, such as the recovery of traditional handicrafts, greater investments in infrastructures and higher quality hospitality and retail establishments. Therefore, the prevailing positive attitude coincides with the results of other studies carried out in the Cape Verde Islands in general (Ribeiro et al., 2013) or on Sal Island in particular (Simão & Môsso, 2013). Attitudes towards possible negative impacts are much less marked in the community and are primarily focused on feelings of greater insecurity and the concern that there will be greater sexual permissiveness and alcohol consumption. Coinciding with most of the previous studies of literature, tourism development will bring to the area more benefits than harm. It can be argued that residents are currently in the phase of "euphoria", as concluded Vargas Sanchés et al. (2007) in their study, although in this case we could qualify it as "moderate euphoria".

3)    The segmentation of the sample based on satisfaction with the services available on the island revealed two groups that, in broad terms, had a positive opinion of the services offered and also showed a higher degree of agreement with tourism development. A third group, which accounted for slightly more than a third of the sample (37%), had a more negative opinion of the island’s services. This group consisted almost entirely of women with relatively little knowledge of languages. Therefore, this is evidence once more for varying levels of support for tourism within a specific community (Dogan, 1989; Colmenares, 2008; Díaz & Gutiérrez, 2010; Ribeiro et al, 2013).

In conclusion, the island of São Vicente has enormous potential for the development of cultural as well as sun and beach tourism. However, in order for tourism on the island to be sustainable and ensure that the residents perceive the benefits to be gained from tourism, greater participation by local residents in tourism initiatives is needed. In this respect, public agencies, NGOs and universities (both domestic and international) play a significant role and should make a commitment to training and heightening the awareness of a predominantly young population. By doing so, the island would become a model of how well-managed tourism can produce a high degree of satisfaction among residents, while allowing for sustainable growth.

This research suffers from certain limitations, mainly the method and selected technical instruments and the characteristics of the empirical support. In this sense, structural equation modelling or multivariable models could be used for graduating the positive or negative attitudes towards tourism development. The empirical research was developed on different dates for each of the analysed groups, which could generate some distortions in the results. Subsequent studies will allow comparison of the results obtained, as well as introduce new variables and dimensions adapted to the geographical area in question, even expanding the study to other islands of the Cape Verde archipelago.

Given that attitude is a tourist intangible and dynamic in its formation (Díaz & Gutiérrez, 2010), its longitudinal analysis is an essential reason why, as a future line of research, it might be interesting to set up an observatory to analyse the attitudes of residents as Cape Verde makes more progress towards becoming an emerging tourism destination.



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The results of this paper are based on research funded by the Spanish International Cooperation Agency (Spanish acronym: AECID) via projects PCI-A/023083/09 and A/032748/10. The authors wish to thank both the AECID and the inhabitants of the Cape Verde archipelago.

The results of this paper are based on research funded by the Spanish International Cooperation Agency (Spanish acronym: AECID) via projects PCI-A/023083/09 and A/032748/10. The authors wish to thank both the AECID and the inhabitants of the Cape Verde archipelago.


Article history:

Submitted: 25 June 2013

Accepted: 31 November 2013