According to fDi’s Tourism locations of the future ranking for 2019/2020, the top 20 nations considered to be ripe for investment include eight countries that currently offer Citizenship or Residency by Investment programmes. Another reason to invest via citizenship or residency, perhaps?
Among the top 20 locations ranked by fDi Intelligence (division of the Financial Times) as most attractive for investment are Portugal, Montenegro, Saint Lucia, Greece, Antigua & Barbuda, Cyprus, Dominica Grenada, all countries offering residency or citizenship by investment (while Cyprus’ CBI Programme is currently suspended, it is likely it will be re-launched).
Highlights include Portugal, which offers a RBI programme, and which is ranked 3rd worldwide as being most attractive for investment as well as being the highest ranked European location; and the Caribbean countries which dominate the investment-attractive rankings, with Citizenship by Investment success stories Antigua & Barbuda (14th), Grenada (16th) and Dominica (18th) all placing in the top 20.
Portugal 3rd most attractive investment location
Ranked as the 3rd most attractive location for investment worldwide, Portugal, which offers a highly popular residency by investment programme, is the highest ranked European location. Following the introduction of a 10-year tourism strategy in 2017 aiming to increase year-round investment, revenue and employment in the sector, tourism grew by 8.1% in 2018. Furthermore, Portugal boasts the highest number of companies in the tourism sector in this year’s ranking with tourism enterprises making up 16.16% of all companies in the country.
That’s good news for those investing in Portugal and a pull for those wishing to secure citizenship via investment by taking advantage of Portugal’s popular Golden Resident Permit Programme,. It requires a minimum investment of €350,000 in property, which can be rented out to tourists, providing you with a Portuguese EU passport (ranked 6th in the world with visa-free access to 186 countries) within 5-6 years and no residency requirement (bar a few weeks per year on Portuguese soil).
Investment in property in Portugal via the programme has been so popular, in fact, that the government has announced it is removing the popular tourist locations of Porto, Lisbon and the Algarve region (popular investment areas due to the high profits that can be achieved from renting properties here tourists all year round) from the programme from 2021.
However, foreigners will still be able to invest in property in Portugal outside of these regions via the RBI programme in 2021.
But that’s not all. Portugal’s impressive business-friendly regulations means that opening a business in Portugal can be achieved in less than a week, making citizenship even more attractive.
Caribbean countries dominate the rankings
The Caribbean countries dominate the rankings, with Antigua and Barbuda (14th), Grenada (16th) and Dominica (18th) – all Caribbean countries offering successful citizenship by investment programmes – placed in the top 20 of most attractive investment locations.
While Antigua & Barbuda (which offers one of the most affordable routes to citizenship via property investment with a US$200,000 minimum requirement and is very family-inclusive) came in at 14th, the Caribbean island of Grenada, whose citizenship by investment programme is ranked as third best in the world (CBI Index 2020), was close behind at 16th.
Home to lush rainforests, hot springs and one of the top 20 best beaches in the world, Grand Anse Beach (according to Conde Nast Traveller), Grenada is certainly a country with a burgeoning tourism industry and therefore one ripe for investment.
On the heels of double-digit growth and a landmark total visitor arrival of 528,077 in 2018 (a historic landmark for the country), the Grenada Tourism Authority announced notable growth of its cruise and yacht market in 2018, but more importantly, the growth of 3.81% in the tourism stay-over market between January-June 2019 with the average length of stay 8.5 days.
Good news for investors in tourism-focused real estate, something foreigners can take advantage of via the country’s popular and successful Citizenship by Investment programme, considered to be the third best CBI Programme worldwide (CBI Index 2020).
For a minimum investment of US$220,000 in a government-approved tourism development to which the developer has already committed 20% of the total expected costs (held for five years), you can gain citizenship of Grenada, allowing you and your family, including spouse, children, parents, grandparents and siblings, to hold Grenadian passports and live there.
Take Kimpton Kawana Bay, a new five-star luxury resort that is ideally positioned on the world-famous Grand Anse Beach. Investment in one of its 133 rooms or 31 suites offers good potential for rental income through the operator’s transparent hotel rental management programme as well as personal accommodation usage of up to two weeks each year. The Kimpton Kawana Bay hotel, which is still under construction, once open (official opening is likely to be in 2022) will deliver 133 rooms and 31 suites, as well as an infinity edge pool overlooking the beach, a state-of-the-art gym and spa facilities, a fine-dining restaurant, rooftop bar, beach bar, lounge with terrace, and water sports facilities.
Also, Grenada offers incentives that include an investment allowance, tax credit for training and customs duties exemptions.
Finally, Dominica, which is considered to offer the world’s best citizenship by investment programme, according to the latest CBI Index 2020, is really pushing the tourism boat out, with the aim of carving out its niche in eco-tourism and encouraging investment to support such sustainability.
The government of Dominica is aiming to make the island the world’s first climate-resilient country though the types of investment it seeks to attract, and by making existing tourism investments more robust.
Known as the Nature Island, Dominica is a burgeoning eco tourist destination, attracting eco-tourists with its lush rainforests, mountains, waterfalls and volcanoes and offers various eco-lodges and resorts to accommodate visitors. And the government-approved real estate investments for its Citizenship by investment programme all attest to this commitment to eco-tourism and sustainability with the Jungle Bay Eco Villas (set to complete by 2021) and the award-winning Secret Bay Resort (set to unveil new investable villas this month).
The most significant foreign investments made in Dominica in the past year were hotel properties, partly financed by funds from the CBI Programme, including Tranquility Beach, part of the Hilton Curio Collection, and Anichi Resort & Spa, part of the Marriot Autograph Collection. Furthermore, Dominica offers incentives for investors including a tax holiday on profits for up to 20 years and a waiver on import duties on building materials, furniture and fittings for tourism investments.
Wellness tourism is also a key sector for Dominica, where services such as holistic massage, yoga, chiropractic care, coaching, pilates, fitness and a range of spa facilities are on offer, and Voluntourism packages are further available, inviting travellers to assist in the clean-up and rebuild of the Nature Island following Hurricane Maria.
And with the building of its international airport, a number one priority for the government, Dominica will well and truly be on the global tourist map.
Being so proactive in investment and with a clear focus on the future of tourism, it’s easy to see why Dominica is a very attractive destination for investment and ultimately for citizenship by investment. Foreigners can gain citizenship by investment in property for a minimum of US$200,000 and re-sell after fives of receiving citizenship, dependent on purchase and re-sell. Recently, Dominica extended its ‘dependent’ clause in its CBI Programme to include a wider range of family members, including grandparents and adopted siblings.
Cyprus ranks ninth worldwide
Ranked 9th in the world as location of the future, European country Cyprus has recently suspended its successful and popular Citizenship by Investment Programme due to due diligence controversy, but has plans to re-launch it once more.
Good news for investors who wish to not only gain citizenship of an EU country (with its visa-free access to 174 countries, ranking its passport as 15th in the world), but also take advantage of the country’s successful tourism sector.
In fact, the tourism sector is considered the backbone of Cyprus’s economy, breaking historic records in both arrivals and revenue for the past four years (Covid not included). With a 7.8% yoy increase, tourist arrivals in Cyprus have increased from 2.4 million in 2014 to 3.9 million in 2018.
Based on current hotel developments, an 18% increase in the total number of beds is anticipated across Cyprus, which includes a new casino resort project that is expected to contribute an additional 1000 rooms by 2021.
In particular, Medical tourism is an up-and-coming market in Cyprus, thanks to its modern private hospitals and clinics with state-of-the-art equipment, and highly qualified doctors and medical staff. The island offers a one-stop service from treatment to recuperation.
Add to that the country’s powerful passport (ranked xx in the world according to the latest Henley Passport Index Q4 2020) which gives visa-free access to 174 countries, the ability to work, live and study in 27 EU member states; high-income economy; and beautiful climate and lifestyle (55 of its beaches have been awarded EU Blue Flag status) and it’s easy to see why the country has been so successful at securing new citizens.
While currently suspended, it is expected that a similar programme, but with tightened regulations, will be launched in 2021.