Anroux Marais, Western Cape Minister of Arts and Culture, says: “Cape Town has showcased to the world that it can host world-class events and also provide facilities on par with the standards expected by international visitors.”
These visitors spend money locally and have a positive impact on the local economy. For example, the Cape Town Carnival spectator accommodation is normally the largest visitor spending category and last year made up 48% of spending by non-local visitors, amounting to over R6 million (€405 335).
Job creation is another benefit of hosting top-class events. “Most of the jobs available might not be permanent, but the skills learned can lead to a permanent job in the future,” says JP Smith, Cape Town's Mayoral Committee Member for Safety, Security and Social Services. One of the Cape Town Carnival’s key priorities is to create employment and have a direct impact on job creation, particularly for the majority of semi-skilled and unskilled workers. “It also demonstrates that we can host major events safely and without incident.”
With world-class events a major part of the city’s calendar, Tourism Update spoke to CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Enver Duminy, to better understand how Cape Town can capitalise on this opportunity.
Q: What can the local industry do to ensure that this standard is maintained and improved?
A: “In tourism it’s essential to continuously adapt and evolve in line with market demands. What was popular last year may not be popular this year, so as an industry we must reinvent what’s on offer to remain relevant. Post-event analysis is critical, to uncover any pain points and ensure that those don’t happen at future events.
“Right now, all events must be considered within the context of saving water, so this requires a major shift in approach to event organisation to ensure that there’s no negative impact on water supplies. The Two Oceans Marathon, for example, has released a number of changes to this year’s programme, including no showers at the event, outsourced water, etc. The Cape Cycle Tour has done the same, as have many others.”
Q: What is the economic impact of the world-class events currently hosted and how does this translate into real world benefits for the local community?
A: “Collectively, the economic impact of world-class events is enormous. For example, the Two Oceans Marathon provides an economic boost for the city of over R675 million (€45.6m), together with thousands of jobs being created during the organisation and running of the event, and the charities that partner with the event benefit by over R3 million (€202 667) every year.
“A further example is The Cape Town International Jazz Festival (the city’s biggest annual event with 37 000 visitors) which brings in around R700 million (€47.2m). The major events held in the city provide employment and employment sustainability; it’s not just those directly involved in an event who benefit, but whole communities can be sustained by the running of successful events. An event can start as a small, local affair, and grow to become a player on the world stage, such as the Cape Town Cycle Tour. Growth in this area means we have a healthy events environment. Since events can be held all year round, they aid in combatting seasonality in tourism, and there are so many, that you could term events ‘The 8th Attraction’.”
Q: Why should event planners consider CPT a top destination?
A: “Since hosting a successful FIFA World Cup in 2010, the city has proven its capabilities and also increased capacity at Cape Town International Airport. There are new hotels with more facilities; Cape Town International Convention Centre has recently opened its extension and the Century City Conference Centre is also a healthy addition to the events environment. The city is a world-class destination, so attendees of events also get a chance to explore our neighbourhoods and enjoy our attractions and experiences.”
Q: How can potential investors go about hosting a major event in CPT? What is the process they would need to follow?
A: “There’s quite a long lead time, since specific dates and venues are always in demand. Investors should approach the city to obtain an events calendar of what’s already booked, and then follow the process of booking dates and venues.
“If the event would involve road closures, then that’s a major negotiation point, as the City must ensure that locals are able to navigate our roads, so big events generally can’t overlap. Investors can also reach out to the major conference centres and hotels for more details regarding bookings.”