MARKETING: Cape Town Still Has Problems
Recent Western Cape Business News
“Cape Town is becoming a popular events city, but it still needs to guard against complacency. Other South African cities, notably Durban, are pursuing iconic events aggressively as they too have recognized the real economic benefits of a successful events strategy,” according to Guy Lundy, addressing representatives of Accelerate Cape Town’s 43 member organisations.
Lundy pointed out that Cape Town has successfully hosted high-profile business events such as Oil and Gas Africa, the World Economic Forum, and the Time/Fortune 500/CNN Global Forum, during the World Cup. These events have proven not only that Cape Town has the capability to host large, globally-significant conferences, but that international delegates need little persuasion to visit the city. He stressed, however, that increased support from the City of Cape Town and other stakeholders including corporate sponsors, was required if the Cape economy was to reap all the benefits it could from major events.
Major events boost the local economy by hundreds of millions of rand per year, but members agreed that many Cape events are still not well-organised or marketed. This put off both potential participants and sponsors.
Rashid Lombard, the founder of the Cape Town Jazz Festival, echoed Lundy’s call for increased investment in events. He quoted independent analysis that indicates that the Jazz Festival alone added about half a billion rand to the GDP of the Cape, attracting visitors from over 22 countries and creating over 2 000 jobs for the duration of the event. “The media impact of the event is enormous. Countries around the world, including China, are sending journalists to the event,” Lombard said.
According to Lombard festival visitors stay in the Cape for an average of 6.3 days, and 90% state that they will ‘definitely’ visit the Cape again. He stressed that the impact of the Jazz Festival is not just measured economically, however. It is currently ranked 4th in the world among international Jazz Festivals, after New Orleans, Montreal and Monterey, and has positioned the Cape firmly as a globally-desirable cultural destination.
Kevin Vermaak, founder and director of the Absa Cape Epic, the toughest mountain biking stage race in the world, provided Accelerate Cape Town with further proof of the value of iconic events. Although the Absa Cape Epic started in 2004, it is already considered the Tour de France of mountain biking. In 2010, competitors from 52 countries participated in this 3x over-subscribed 8-day event. The average stay of riders in the Cape is, in fact, 15 days ; over 4 000 people, including riders, travel with the race for its duration. The race attracted many senior level business people and professional riders who had large disposable incomes and often brought their families along. Celebrity participants also raise millions for local charities during each race.
Vermaak said the international exposure the Cape gained from the race was far more extensive than the relatively small field of 1 200 competitors would indicate. “Footage of riders with Table Mountain or an elephant in a nature reserve as backdrop sets us apart as a premier adventure sport destination and is a tremendous boost to Cape Town’s brand,” Vermaak said. Global media coverage of the race, with millions of television viewers in Europe, holds massive economic benefits for the region, he maintains.
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