Events drive tourism growth in CT and surrounds | Fin24
 
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Events drive tourism growth in CT and surrounds

Mar 02 2016 20:20
Carin Smith

Cape Town - Veuve Clicquot brings the “sport of kings” back to Cape Town for the 6th year as one the few Veuve Clicquot polo events hosted worldwide.

First held in 2011, the Veuve Clicquot Masters Polo features an international polo lineup, with teams from around the world competing for the Veuve Clicquot Masters Polo Cape Town cup.

It takes place on the March 5 2016 at the Val de Vie Estate in the Paarl-Franschhoek valley.

Equestrian sports have played a critical role in the growth and development of Cape Town’s tourism sector, according to the organisers of the polo event. The equestrian activities in the city consist of many different events such as polo, horse racing and horse jumping, to name a few.

These sports also have a substantial impact on jobs and income. Like any other business, the equestrian industry makes a variety of input purchases that translate into flow of funds throughout the local economy. The indirect and induced effects of the equestrian industry work through numerous other sectors within the local economy and contribute to the Cape’s economic growth and development.

While South Africa's visa rules were initially seen as a barrier to entry, affecting visitor numbers to South Africa overall, changes announced by the government to amend certain requirements for tourists from certain countries has been welcome news and is impacting tourism positively, according to the Western Cape Government.

According to SA government, the inflow of tourists to South Africa is the result of the success of policies aimed at entrenching South Africa’s status as a major international tourism and business events destination.

Polo is unique in terms of the platform it provides and it's blend of upper middle class and HNW (high net worth) attendees and polo aficionados. It is extremely social and one does not need to have a thorough understanding of the nuances of the sport to really enjoy the action and the event itself, according to the organisers.
 
With ticket pricing set between R850 and R4 000 the event draws well-heeled locals and internationals boosting the economy. In an attempt to make the event accessible to an aspirational audience, there’s a picnic area which offers access to a grass picnic area adjacent to the main pavilion, at R200 per person.

These world-class events drive direct and indirect employment spanning across industries like hospitality, training, administration, eventing, marketing, security and catering, according to the organisers.

“Polo events such as the Veuve Clicquot Masters is also the perfect platform to showcase the best that South Africa has to offer – proving that it can produce a world-class event that can compete on the international stage. It sends out a positive message about South Africa rather than the usual negative reporting which we so often see on the international broadcast networks” said VIVIDLUXURY’s CEO Anina Malherbe-Lan, one of the event co-founders.

The equestrian industry is bringing more and more people in for riding and polo lessons, to shop, to buy horses, and to attend polo and other equestrian events. According to Brand South Africa more than 10% of foreign tourists come to South Africa to watch or participate in sport events, with spectators accounting for 60% to 80% of these arrivals.

“Polo events is the latest trend when it comes to business networking (deal making) platforms for South Africa’s corporate elite and also attracts international investment” adds event co-owner and Val de Vie events MD, Simone de Wet.

Another event luring many visitors to the Cape this weekend is the Cape Town Cycle Tour. According to Enver Duminy, CEO at Cape Town Tourism, 35 000 competitors participate in the Cape Town Cycle Tour, the world’s largest timed cycling tour, and 4 500 international participants have booked for the 2016 tour - almost 1 500 more than booked in 2015.

The Cape Town Cycle Tour contributed R450m to the city’s economy in 2014 and it’s expected to generate at least the same figure this year. Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde has previously noted that the provinces top cycling events (including the Cape Town Cycle Tour, the Cape Rouleur and the ABSA Cape Epic) contribute in excess of R760m combined.
   
Duminy said Cape Town has learnt how to leverage events for economic growth. The Cape Town International Jazz Festival (the city’s biggest annual event with 37 000 visitors) brought in R700m in 2014, while the direct economic impact of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and its participants/spectators is in the order of R101.3m, and can result in an additional R122.5m of indirect impact, For a total annual impact in excess of R223.9m.

"Cape Town has experienced steady growth in tourism numbers with direct tourism spend increasing by R1.5bn from 2012 to 2014, according to Grant Thornton, increasing from R14.4bn in 2012 to R15.6bn in 2014. These figures are encouraging in this economic climate and should inspire those looking to the industry for their futures," said Duminy.

"This is just a snapshot of the impact events have on the Mother City. There are concerts, sports tournaments, food and wine festivals and many other events throughout the year. These attract visitors from other parts of the country as well as stimulating Capetonians to explore their own city."

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cape town  |  travel and leissure  |  tourism  |  events
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