A decade after founding The Resort Group PLC, CEO Rob Jarrett spoke in a recent magazine interview, Expresso das Ilhas, of his devotion to Cape Verde and his extensive plans for the next 10 years.
Not a pioneer, but a partner
Rob Jarrett is the first to say that he wasn’t a pioneer in his move to invest in Cape Verde. The fact that other investors such as TUI and Hilton Worldwide already had a presence there was one of the defining reasons why he chose the archipelago. Indeed, forming strategic partnerships between The Resort Group PLC and such operators has been significant to his success.
During his interview at the iconic Bikini Beach, Rob Jarrett was asked what the key to his success was.
“If I could answer that question it would be worth more money than I currently have. But I would say it’s hard work, determination, tenacity, and of course, some vision. One has to be able, not to predict the future, but to perceive the ups and downs of an economic situation. And I love numbers.
The investment in numbers
With clear devotion to Cape Verde, Rob Jarrett describes The Resort Group PLC’s position as “just the beginning”.
Currently holding 67% of the market share of the 5-star hotel sector in Cape Verde, The Resort Group PLC has more than 5,000 beds. Thousands are due to be added, notably in Boa Vista, with an additional six Resorts and 4,000 rooms being built in the next decade.
By the end of this development programme, the total investments made by Rob Jarrett in the archipelago will be approximately €1.25 billion.
So, is all of this success due to investors and their devotion to the Islands? In part, definitely. Yet, it’s a two-way street – the investment complements the demand for tourism, and the demand for tourism complements the investment, which makes it a viable business endeavour. Looking at the figures from last year alone, more than 716,000 guests visited Cape Verde, an increase of 11.2% compared to 2016.
Giving something back
Rob Jarrett’s dedication to Cape Verde doesn’t stop at the place itself. Raising the GDP of the country and giving something back to the local communities is at the core of everything he does.
Despite his success, the founder of The Resort Group PLC does not come from wealthy beginnings. Speaking openly about understanding poverty, it’s an obvious and necessary choice for him to plough a share of the profits back into the archipelago.
Rob Jarrett created the Cape Verde Foundation, which works tirelessly to raise money and source donations. Educational material, university and school scholarships, and medical supplies are just some of the outcomes of the campaigns. In 2017, the Foundation opened a summer school for the children of Sal, and every year they hold their famous Christmas party for 350 local children at the MELIÃ Dunas Beach Resort & Spa.
The Resort Group PLC is also the largest employer in Cape Verde after the State, with over 4,000 employees – many of them locals.
Bikini Beach – not just for tourists
Part of The Resort Group PLC’s commitment to giving something back to Cape Verde is Bikini Beach. One of Jarrett’s biggest passions, the acclaimed hotspot isn’t reserved for the tourists and celebrities it attracts from around the world. It’s very much for the locals too. Describing the atmosphere created by the Cape Verdean public as “extraordinary”, Rob heads a weekly meeting to ensure locals keep attending.
With delicious food, great music, and amazing atmosphere, The Resort Group PLC is looking to recreate the Bikini Beach idea in other areas of Cape Verde, beginning with Boa Vista. Described as a ‘super brand’, there are also plans to take it elsewhere in the world, such as the Caribbean.
It’s very clear that The Resort Group PLC will be a key part of Cape Verde for the foreseeable future, and investors, tourists, and locals have much to gain.