Cape Town’s economy alive with the sound of music

Ranked as one of the top five best Jazz festivals in the world,* the Cape Town International Jazz Festival continues to impress not only with its artist line-up but also its economic impact. Figures released by the North-West University TREES report (Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society) on behalf of espAfrika, the Festival’s organisers, show an increased and sustained positive multiplier effect on the Western Cape economy, confirming again that the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is valuable to the city and merits its status as a ‘jewel’ in Cape Town’s events crown.

2013 is the fifth year the TREES report has measured the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) and despite global financial pressures, the 2013 event contributed an 8.5% increase in overall economic value to the Western Cape GDP equating to R522 million. The CTIJF created 2721 additional employment opportunities across several different industries, 410 of which were exclusively dependent on the festival. This is quite an achievement for a two-day event considering that a large number of other SA arts and music events take place over a week or more.

The impact on tourism from both international and local visitors is considerable, especially for accommodation, the largest spending category; the majority of out-of-towners preferring to stay in hotels. Indeed, although the percentage of foreign visitors and group size were lower, the 2013 event was on par with the previous period showing that an average of 3.4 nights were spent in and around Cape Town, with 6% of visitors staying 10 or more nights, up 3% on 2012. Also notable is that 25% of those polled use the CTIJF as the specific opportunity to visit Cape Town. The variety of countries represented has also broadened. In 2013, there were more visitors from neighbouring African countries than in previous years while Germany, Switzerland, Canada, France and the USA make up the long-haul foreign attendants. “These figures reaffirm that the CTIJF is more than an entertainment event. It is a major contributor to the economy of the Cape Town and the Western Cape. It brings much-needed tourism revenue that benefits a whole range of industries in Cape Town and most critically job creation in the city”, says Mayor Patricia de Lille.

Also increasing in 2013 is the overall pocket-spend which was calculated taking the average group size of 3.8 persons into account. Average spend per group was R4, 452.86 over the two-day period in 2013 compared to R3 368.82 in 2012 and R3 628.60 in 2011.

The CTIJF retains the kudos to entice first time visitors. 56% of total visitors attended for the second, third and even the tenth time and Sixty-five% of all ticket-holders enjoyed both days at the Festival. “We are delighted to see that that the Festival is established now as a reliable source of excellent entertainment. It has an increasingly loyal following of ‘Festinos’ electing to purchase the full weekend pass”, said Rashid Lombard, CEO of espAfrika and the Festival’s Director.

A total of 37 000 ‘Festinos’ enjoyed a varied line-up on several stages in 2013 which is remarkable when you think that the CTIJF started with only 10,000 attendants just 13 years ago.“It is especially gratifying to know that each year the tickets sell out more quickly than the year before. We must be doing something right”, added Lombard. ” In 2013 we had sold-out six weeks prior to the start of the Festival with 41% of our ‘Festinos’ purchasing their tickets when we opened for sales. We have a better than ever line-up planned for 2014 so we expect this trend to continue”.

Minister of Arts and Culture, Paul Mashatile remarked of the CTIJF: “While we know that culture helps drive social cohesion, we are steadily seeing in South Africa that the cultural and creative industries go even further by contributing towards economic growth which helps create jobs and sustainable livelihoods. The cultural industries must be seen as one of the elements that will help drive this development. The Cape Town International Jazz Festival, shows the potential this sector has, it has brought over R500m into the City of Cape Town in 2013. The growth of the festival has an effect on everything around it, from hotels to ticket sales and more”.

In fact, as the TREES report also noted in 2013, more ‘Festinos’ are appreciating other similar music and cultural events across the country and throughout the year. With the average age of those first being introduced to jazz by friends and family reducing from 25 years to 16.6 years (of those who attended the CTIJF), it would seem that the festival’s influence is spreading. This augurs well for the future of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and other similar arts and cultural initiatives

By the Numbers:

Visitor Profile:

Male 46% Female 54%

Average age: 40 years

English speaking: 57%

South African: 93% (Western Cape 47% and Gauteng 24%)

Average of 6.2 shows

About espAfrika

espAfrika is a cutting-edge global competitor in events management. Over the past decade, they have staged international music festivals throughout Africa and under their leadership; the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has been named the 4th best jazz festival worldwide by Melodytrip Independent Survey in 2007.

Besides the highly successful Cape Town International Jazz Festival, similar jazz festivals have been held in Angola and Mozambique. This company continues to play a major role in highlighting and promoting South Africa as a prominent destination on the international entertainment circuit. Having diligently established trustworthy relationships in the international music industry, espAfrika ensures a lucrative flow of artists and expertise between Africa, Europe and the United States. espAfrika Pty Ltd is a proud subsidiary of Sekunjalo Investments.

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