Brava: Open Letter to the Mayor - Investment in Tourism, but No Prospect of Tourists

  • 21/05/2023 04:02


"Tourism without tourists" is an expression that describes the situation the tourism sector and the tourist destination face in reality, Brava, from the outset, with a clear low demand or absence of visitors. This occurs for various reasons, such as economic crises, natural disasters, political instability, epidemics or pandemics, among other factors. However, in the case of Brava, it happens because it is Brava, Brava.

Mr. President Francisco Tavares,

This analysis follows your "stubbornness" and goodwill in wanting to invest substantial sums in creating tourist infrastructure, without any action taken to "sell" the Brava destination.

Brava is a small volcanic island located in the archipelago of Cape Verde, in the Atlantic Ocean, off the northwest coast of Africa. It is the westernmost and smallest inhabited island in the archipelago, with an area of only 67 square kilometers.

Brava is known for its untouched natural beauty, with mountainous landscapes, steep cliffs, lush valleys, and small secluded beaches. The island is dominated by Mount Fontainhas, which rises to about 976 meters in altitude and offers breathtaking panoramic views.

The main city of Brava is Vila Nova Sintra, a charming urban center with narrow streets, white and gray painted houses, and a tranquil atmosphere. The city has a rich cultural heritage, reflected in its colonial architecture and local traditions, such as the morna music, a typical music genre of Cape Verde.

Brava is an ideal destination for nature lovers, hikers, and those seeking a peaceful retreat. The trails around the island offer opportunities to explore the stunning landscape, with hikes that traverse coastal cliffs, valleys, and endless mountains.

To reach the island of Brava, it is possible to take a flight to São Filipe airport on the neighboring island of Fogo and then take a boat to Brava. It is advisable to check the schedules and availability of transportation as they may vary.

In summary, Brava Island is a charming destination for travelers seeking tranquility, natural beauty, and cultural authenticity. Its mountainous landscape, secluded beaches, and the charming city of Vila Nova Sintra offer a unique and captivating experience to visitors.

Mr. President, goodwill alone is not enough. Who is promoting the "Brava" destination? Which markets are informed that there is an island called Brava? Has the island participated in tourism fairs in Europe, Asia, and the United States of America? What contacts has the island established with tourist-emitting countries, especially those who love adventure activities?

We already know that tourism has been declining or at a standstill due to various factors, starting with the pandemic. But Brava Island should be able to join this recovery and new waves. We are all aware of the positive impacts that consistent and planned tourism can have on local economies. There is no doubt that hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, souvenir shops, and other tourism-related businesses can suffer significant financial losses if this sector does not receive proper attention. Furthermore, the lack of tourists can have negative consequences for cultural heritage and the preservation of certain destinations that depend on visitation for their maintenance.

Mr. President,

We have serious concerns that Brava has been taking a backward path in terms of sector preparation. Without proper organization of transportation to and from Brava Island. Without proper promotion of Brava as an excellent destination that focuses on differentiation from the islands of Sal and Boa Vista, any work done or to be done regarding investments in viewpoints, local paths, youth training, and even the creation of the interpretive center in Nova Sintra may be in vain and contribute to the creation of “white elephants”, Something that the island of Brava has specialized in over the years.


On the other hand, Mr. President,

We need to pause and reflect better, listening to experts, investors, businessmen, and ordinary citizens, so that together we can develop strategies to make better use of the island's peculiarities and explore other perspectives of tourism.

Indeed, it is necessary to invest in infrastructure improvements, local professionals' training, diversification of attractions, and promotion of domestic tourism, but first, we need to have TOURISTS. How can we ensure the sustainability of the sector if we can't sell the destination "Brava"? To draw a loose comparison, it would be like having a well-equipped store with shelves full and a stocked warehouse, all clean and tidy, with the owner sitting at the door on a comfortable sofa, waiting for a miracle, the appearance of customers.

In a globalized world where sun-and-sea tourist destinations fiercely compete for every customer,

In a reality where one has to choose between going to Brava or Santo Antão, islands with similar offerings,

In an industry where marketing increasingly takes center stage, leading customers to choose between good, better, and best, the island has lost ground and continues to lose ground, risking even losing its emigrant population of Brava origin, who visit the island less due to the insecurity of maritime transportation.

We need to reflect!

It's a time to reflect on sustainability and reconsider the tourism model, aiming to reduce negative impacts on the environment and the local community.

It's a time to reflect on what kind of tourism we want, based on a well-debated strategic plan that incorporates proposals from various sectors of society.

It's a time to reflect on investments and when to make them, avoiding spending rivers of money that cannot help achieve the intended goals.

Brava does indeed need sustainable tourism, environmentally recommended, benefiting local communities, and benefiting small investors and micro-producers, but it needs tourism with tourists.

Brava needs to be marketed as a cultural and mountain tourism destination, where visitors can discover breathtaking landscapes, from large canyons to imposing mountains;

Where they can explore natural reserves and stunning trails that reveal unique biodiversity;

Where they encounter a rich cultural heritage, visiting the House Museum, iconic colonial buildings, and witnessing living history through traditional festivals, folk dances, and typical cuisine;

Mr. President Tavares,

Brava needs to be sold as a tourist destination, where tourists seeking the experience of a truly memorable trip can find the perfect place to explore on the island. With its natural beauty, cultural heritage, authentic experiences, adventure tourism, and warm hospitality, this destination offers a unique combination of charm and discovery.

In this campaign, the responsible parties should not miss the opportunity to show potential visitors that as soon as they arrive on the island of Brava, they can embark on a journey that will enrich their souls and leave lasting memories.

Moises Santiago

United States of America, May 20, 2023