City events boost local economy

Events across Cape Town make a major contribution to the local economy and in job creation.

This was one of the messages to emerge at a media briefing hosted by the City of Cape Town on Monday October 16 at the Cape Town Stadium and attended by several council officials as well as event CEOs.

Chairperson of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, Francois Pienaar, said that partnerships with the City of Cape Town were key for event organisers.

“Looking at all of these events, it is amazing. But it is not surprising, because Cape Town is beautiful.”

He thanked the City of Cape Town. “Without their support we can’t grow these events into international events.”

He was proud of the way the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon had grown in the last few years after approaching the mayor about the event. He said that more than
20 000 runners took part in this year’s race.

He said the economic impact of the marathon was around R39 million.

Mr Pienaar, who is a Sea Point resident, added that a big part of the event’s success was the comprehensive road closures and traffic plan organised by the City.

“It contributes to the coffers of all the businesses and the people in Cape Town. People come from around the world to take part in our events. If we put on a good event, they become our best ambassadors.”

Billy Domingo, the director of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, agreed that partnerships were crucial in organising events.

“When we started this thing on the first day at the Good Hope Centre we had 3 000 people. We were convinced this thing was not going to work. Fast forward 18 years …
38 000 people, I think we did well.”

He said that it wouldn’t have been possible without the support from the City and various stakeholders such as SAPS. “In the 18 years I think we’ve had about three fights,” he joked. “These events that we do. It’s not just us, it’s who it is that supports the events. From the guy that builds the fences, the free concert, the vendors, these are all part of what make us successful.”

Tsholo Kubheka, commercial manager for SA Rugby Union, said the HSBC Sevens leg in Cape Town was a huge event.

He added that the event had sold out within one hour and 58 minutes.

“We’ve been with the city for two years and it has been a very exciting journey for us.”

He said the Cape Town leg, which takes place in December, was voted as the best in the series last year for the second time in a row by the players and management. He said the accommodation, food and the fact the tournament was player-centric played a big role in the voting process.

“You can never achieve this without being a partner and understanding your role your partner plays in the event.”

He said the people from overseas spent at least six days in the city when they attended the event last year.

The visitors also spent R108 million in the city during last year’s tournament. Overall, the tournament has had a direct economic impact of R432 million in the last two years. “We are making sure that our tournament is not just about a few people that come and spend it in the bowl but about the greater South Africa.”

Ian Nelison, the deputy mayor of Cape Town, said that events played a key role in the local economy. “We seek to cement Cape Town’s reputation as the event’s capital of Africa. The larger events contribute billions to the local economy,” he said.

He said that the City’s special events committee meets every month to consider applications from event month to consider applications from event organisers.

“Year on year we’ve been able to increase the number of events in our city.”

He said the committee was guided by the City’s events policy. Mayor Patricia de Lille said Cape Town was “truly a city, where you can live, work and play.”

She said that events played a key role in this. According to Ms De Lille, the budget for events went from R4 million in 2012 to R40 million in the 2016/17 financial year.

“This increase has enabled us to support 198 local and international events, with nearly half allocated to cultural events, 40% to sporting events and 12% to conferences.”

She also said that in the last financial year the City processed
1 856 applications and issued 1 447 permits, which was up from 1 244 events last year.

The City also supported 198 events in the last year – this compared to 11 events in 2012.

Ms De Lille added: “Events provide enormous benefit to the local economy and play a pivotal role in generating visitor expenditure. It is important that this translates into economic inclusion of all communities in Cape Town.”

Some of the City’s other marquee events include the Cape Town Cycle Tour, Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, Design Indaba, Mining Indaba, Absa Cape Epic, Cape Town Open and the Volvo Ocean Race.