Residents' perceptions towards tourism development: the case of Sal Island

João Simão (Department of Social Sciences and Management, Universidade Aberta and CIEO – Research Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, Lisboa, Portugal)
Antónia Môsso (Direção‐Geral do Ambiente, Cape Verde)

International Journal of Development Issues

ISSN: 1446-8956

Publication date: 28 June 2013



Sal Island has been the object of strong tourism development in the last decades, to the point that Cape Verde is now the African country with the highest relative weight of tourism in employment and economy. This study aims at knowing: the perceptions of Sal residents towards the environmental, cultural, social and economic impacts of tourism activity; the opinion of the people regarding public information and participation; and possible divergences with the “official” discourse present in governmental strategic plans.


A survey was carried out among a sample of residents and descriptive statistics, t‐student and Pearson correlation were computed to study the existence of relations between the impacts and the demographic characteristics of the respondents (age, education, gender and years living in the area). The most relevant plans concerning tourism activity were object of content analysis.


Negative social impacts and positive economic ones are well perceived by the residents, especially the improvement of women's situation. There is a lack of public participation in the decision‐making processes. In general, the population supports tourism development, but there are wearing signs that ought to be taken into consideration by planners and decision makers.


It is the first study about the perception of the resident population concerning the tourism development on Sal Island. The information may be relevant to planners and public policy makers to substantiate future decisions.



Simão, J. and Môsso, A. (2013), "Residents' perceptions towards tourism development: the case of Sal Island", International Journal of Development Issues, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 140-157.

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