Cape Town is the world’s Number one Festival and Event City!


Last week Cape Town received the high honour of being named the ‘World’s Leading Festival and Events Destination’ at the World Travel Awards 2018, held in Lisbon. It follows Cape Town being named ‘Africa’s Leading Festival and Events Destination’ two months ago.  

The City of Cape Town issued the following media statement in celebration of the accolade:

This is yet another milestone for Cape Town and this accolade is reaping the reward for the City’s Events Strategy that enables event packaging and promotion for the tourism industry.

The award shows that this administration is constantly enhancing its strategy to be in line with international trends and positioning Cape Town as a global city.

‘We want the world to know that Cape Town is the destination to invest in, a place to work, for entertainment and the best place to live. This is not just an award for Cape Town; it is an award for South Africa and Africa. We want Cape Town to position itself as a place where the world can access Africa and Africa can access the world. Continuing to host events of an international standard will make this vision a reality,’ said Executive Mayor Dan Plato.

In turn, this means constantly looking for opportunities to promote Cape Town and bidding for the next mega or major event to further stimulate our local economy.

City of Cape Town’s officials were part of an inter-governmental delegation that returned from Singapore this week where they presented Cape Town’s bid to host the 2023 Netball World Cup.

The City’s annual calendar is filled with some of the most iconic events and adding the Netball World Cup 2023 to our growing list would be a key milestone that will aid us in promoting women in sport.

‘This award reaffirms our position as a world-class City and proves that Cape Town has what it takes to lead the way in organising and hosting events. Last week representatives from national government, provincial government, the City’s Events office and myself spent two days in intensive preparations and rehearsals to present the bid on behalf of Cape Town and South Africa, to host the 2023 Netball World Cup. It would be the first time on African soil and would be a milestone for the City, the country and the continent if we win the bid to host the largest women’s sporting event in the world,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

Not only are these events prestigious in itself, but they are also critical to promoting job opportunities and developing the South African economy to support our local communities. International audiences love Cape Town and also want to share in our joy and pride,’ added Alderman Smith.

Being able to attract such international events to our shores and provide support to local home-grown events every year is testament to this administration’s commitment to creating an enabling environment where these showpieces are able to grow in stature and provide a lasting experience for attendees.

Our Events Department has been successfully driving this strategy through facilitating, providing guidance and coordinating events hosted in the city to ensure that Cape Town is an events destination of choice and the events hub on the continent.

It is important that we eliminate red-tape to encourage more investment into our city and further attract major events of an international standard.

Our strategy has four areas of focus including:

  • Economic Impact and Job Creation
  • Place Marketing/Destination Marketing
  • Social Cohesion
  • Seasonality

This also means ensuring that we provide support during the event application process and our permitting system is effective.

In the previous financial year, through the permit office, the City issued 1277 event permits and supported 180 events – this has quadrupled over the last five years.

The City continues to work tirelessly to strengthen its position as a premium events destination and in this regard we are looking to further improve by going online with an E-Permit system next year.

Having developed a strong track record as an events destination, we are aware events provide enormous benefit to the local economy and play a pivotal role in generating visitor expenditure. It is important for the city that this translates into economic inclusion of all communities in Cape Town.

The economic spin-offs from events generate a ripple effect of job creation during and after events, and the increased spend at our world-famous attractions. It also enriches Cape Town’s knowledge in hosting and creates opportunities for the some of the people working on the events to initiate, and grow their own businesses.

Eight of the events being hosted in Cape Town over the next 12 months will contribute more than R3 billion to the local economy and create more than 20 000 temporary jobs.

The successful implementation of the Event Strategy has seen the City of Portsmouth, south of England, use our strategy as a blueprint to assist with strategically positioning Portsmouth as an events-friendly destination.

International cities recognise the importance of major events and Cape Town as the leader in the field.

This success would not be possible without the partnerships the City has built with investors and event organisers.

Some of the iconic events include:

Cape Town Cycle Tour

The world’s largest timed cycle race has been held in Cape Town for over four decades. It has grown from more than 500 cyclists in 1978 to 42 500 competitors from across Africa and the world.
The race brings in about R408 million into the economy and creates about 1 500 jobs.

Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Africa’s grandest gathering’ is one of Cape Town’s mainstay events having been hosted in the Mother City for the last 18 years. With at least 34 000 festival goers annually, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has a contribution of about R600m into the economy. It is the largest jazz festival on the continent and recognised as the fourth largest in the world.
The popular free concert on Greenmarket Square provides the jazz experience to thousands who are not able to attend the main festival at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Design Indaba Conference

The festival of creativity has been hosted in Cape Town for the last two decades and sees about 48 000 visitors from over 26 countries come to the city to share ideas on all things design.
Over the past six years, Design Indaba has ploughed about R1,7 billion into the economy.

FIA World Rallycross Championship

The first of its kind in Africa, this Adrenalin-pumping motorsport showpiece has come to our shores for the second time this year and enjoyed significant Global TV coverage.
The organisers were impressed with our city and the support the City of Cape Town have provided they were back in Cape Town hosting the event the previous weekend (November 24 and 25).

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – Cape Town Sevens

Cape Town will be hosting this exciting showpiece for the fourth time from 8 – 9 December at the beautiful Cape Town Stadium. HSBC Cape Town Sevens brings in about R674 million into the economy.
For two years in a row, most recently in September, the Cape Town leg of the competition was named as the Best Live Sports Experience in South Africa at the Discovery Sport Industry Awards last year and this is testament to the great collaboration between everyone involved in putting this showpiece together.
The event helps created 1 400 jobs and enjoyed Live global TV coverage.

Old Mutual Two Oceans Race

The world’s most beautiful marathon, taking runners on the most breath-taking scenic routes in the Peninsula, is currently in its 48th year and going strong.
Old Mutual Two Oceans Race is the biggest half marathon in South Africa some 16,000 participants while over 11 000 athletes take on the 56 km Ultra Marathon.
It provides a R672 million boost to the economy.

Sanlam Cape Town Marathon

As Africa’s only IAAF Gold label status marathon, the City of Cape Town is a proud supporter of this event as it also helps the Mother City maintain its reputation as the Events Capital of Africa.
The Cape Town Marathon sees some 20 000 athletes from 67 countries take on the marathon.

Volvo Ocean Race:

The world’s premier offshore yacht race made its 11th stop in Cape Town for the South African leg of the competition last December.
The Volvo Ocean Race brings in about R540 million into the economy and this biannual event.
For the 11th occasion, the organisers of this prestigious event have trusted our city with hosting the ocean race in our shores, a testament to the confidence international bodies have in Cape Town as a host.’

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein


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