Staff Spotlight: Steve Hallam
As part of our staff spotlight series, we spoke to Director of the Group, Steve Hallam, about his life before The Resort Group, Cape Verde’s investment potential and what he sees as the next step.
What did you do before you worked with The Resort Group?
The bulk of my pre-TRG career was spent in the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) arena. Having held positions in the drinks division of Princes Group, my first move into sales came with The Coca-Cola Company and Schweppes Beverage Corp, predominantly in the licensed on-trade market.
Eventually, a career move took me to global drinks giant, DIAGEO, where I progressed into key account management. My final foray, before switching industry to Real-Estate and Development, came with the WD-40 Company, as Regional Account Manager for the North of England.
They were all highly corporate and globally recognised brands, which I’d like to think has provided me with a solid grounding in sales strategies and marketing principles.
What were your first thoughts of Cape Verde?
Whilst undeniably beautiful, my first thoughts centred on what an amazing investment and career opportunity I’d just stumbled across.
Having already worked in the Canary Islands (witnessing the tail-end of the boom years in real-estate and development first hand), I instantly knew that Cape Verde represented the “next big thing” and would be an emerging market that would serve The Resort Group and its investor clients for many years to come.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to invest in overseas property?
Ensure you have the due diligence provided to you independently verified by an industry expert. As with any property investment, invest with a medium to long term view.
What are the advantages of The Resort Group as an alternative investment?
The advantages are very different from a decade ago. Investors today benefit from the fact The Resort Group has developed more than 2,228 hotel rooms, suites, apartments and villas across 5 operational Resorts. These operational Resorts attract revenue and occupancy guarantees from globally recognised hotel and tour operator brands. These guaranteed revenues bring additional underlying financial strength to The Resort Group and its ability to service long-term investor returns.
Coming back to Cape Verde as an investment destination, visitor exports are a key component of the Travel & Tourism sector, and this, in turn, drives hotel real-estate asset values. In 2017, Cape Verde visitor numbers are expected to grow by 11.1% to 578,000 international tourist arrivals. By 2027, international tourist arrivals are forecast to total 728,000, an increase of 5.8% pa.
The Resort Group now also offers an exit strategy option on new investments where it agrees to market the property for sale after the first five years of investment at no less than the nominal value. This offers a further layer of protection if the anticipated market drivers do not positively impact on real-estate growth. Given the positive tourism trends in Cape Verde, the underlying tour operator guarantees and a growing hotel and resort portfolio, the future outlook for The Resort Group PLC is set to be positive and stable.
How would you describe an ETP and its benefits?
The ETP or “Exchange Traded Products” are investment grade, daily traded and listed securities. They are suitable for professional and/or institutional investors. In short, they are investment stocks, bought and sold (traded) via recognised investment brokers on behalf of their investor clients.
The benefits are simple, they provide all of the access and derived value from the underlying revenue guarantees, but without the need to invest directly into the underlying physical asset. The ETPs are classified as “Standard Assets” meaning they able to be bought, held and sold quickly and easily (within 30 days). This additional layer of liquidity is attractive to funds, portfolio managers, investment advisors and trading platforms.
The ETPs have been independently accessed and rated as BBB+ “investment grade” debt securities.
What has changed since you joined the company?
What has changed is simple;
Forwarding looking projections and forecasts in 2007 have now become a reality in 2017.
Cape Verde, from an investment perspective, has advanced from a “good prospect” to a “no brainer”
Leading Resort brands are arriving, the touristic market is booming, bringing about an increase in airlift and government sponsored investment in touristic infrastructure.
The Resort Group is now the driving force of this tourism boom. The most notable difference is that a growing number of recognised tourism brands are waking up to the fact Cape Verde is a politically stable, easily accessible and affordable safe haven (not to mention a tropical paradise!). Part of this realisation and shift to Cape Verde has been fuelled, in part, by the incredibly unfortunate circumstances in certain “MENA” regions (Middle East & North Africa).
What has been your proudest moment with the Group?
The opening launch of The Resort Group’s first hotel, MELIÃ Tortuga Beach Resort. It was emotional!
What is next for The Resort Group PLC?
The Resort Group has a large pipeline of planned resorts on other Islands, such is the demand from hotel and tour operators for bed-nights and market share. So, inter-Island diversification, as well as jurisdictional diversification. Watch this space!