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Saturday, 03 September 2011 21:05

Jazz Festival Pumps Up GDP Volume in 2011

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Sept 3, 2011 (Biz Community) - From the beginning, attracting a mere six thousand music lovers in the year 2000, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has grown to become the defining music event on the continent. And with an audience now 33 500 strong, the festival's impact goes way beyond the performance arenas.


With a consistent offering of stellar global acts over the past 12 years, it is no surprise that audience loyalty has followed suit. The steady surge in attendance figures prompted CTIJF to move from the Good Hope Centre to the much larger Cape Town International Convention Centre in 2004.


espAfrika CEO and Festival Director Rashid Lombard says, "The event has been sold out in advance for several years now and we are immensely thankful for the support our audiences have shown. Our only regret is that we've reached the audience capacity ceiling in the venue for the moment. But, we're very pleased to announce that plans are well underway for expanding the venue's capacity. This will allow many more "festinos" to become part of Africa's grandest gathering."


Minister Paul Mashatile, Department of Arts and Culture says: "We note that the Cape Town International Jazz Festival makes a significant contribution to the economy of the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape in general. The Festival is one of our country's major tourist attractions and contributes to job creation. It is because of such reasons that as the Department of Arts and Culture we continue to make the point that; the cultural and creative industries, of which festivals are an important part, is a major driver of economic growth and job creation."


In the chilly economic climate of recent years, many countries have begun to measure cultural impact in more dispassionate financial terms and South Africa is no exception. Following research into the economic impact of large events in SA, it is apparent that the CTIJF holds quantifiable benefits not only for Cape Town, but also for South Africa as a whole.


According to the latest research results from the Institute for Tourism and Leisure Studies (North West University) the Western Cape economy enjoyed benefit to the value of R498.6 million in 2011. This amount is up by 4.9 percent from last year's figure. Nationally, as a result of CTIJF, South Africa's GDP saw benefit to the tune of R761 million- an increase of 7% from 2010.


Cllr. Grant Pascoe from the City of Cape Town's Mayoral committee for Social Development said, "The festival has become an integral part of the Cape Town events calendar and brings thousands of tourists to our city. Through supporting our local tourism industry in this way it sustains jobs, and ultimately puts bread on the tables of families who might have had to go without otherwise. That's why we'd like to see the strong growth that the festival has experienced over the past several years continue"


Understandably, espAfrika is highly pleased with the festival's impact although as Festival Director Rashid Lombard adds, "the fact that audience capacity is currently limited to 33500 people does place a limit on the event's ability to grow further - for the moment." According to the research, many of the festinos who attend the festival return year after year. And as a direct result of the festival, jobs were created for 2700 staff and numerous service providers.


Dr Ivan Meyer, Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport in the Western Cape, "What makes the Cape Town Jazz Festival so special is that not only does it bring a major economic injection into the Western Cape's economy and provide many jobs in our tourism and related industries, but it also provides opportunities for growing new talent with a number of programmes focused on developing our youth. I look forward to seeing these future stars, who have been given the opportunity to grow their talent and musical skills becoming main attractions at the Festival."


Along with these economic positives, wide media coverage of the event is a vital part of the festival phenomenon. With 9 radio stations, 11 TV channels and 139 accredited journalists from 14 countries covering the festival, awareness of CTIJF is global. The event attracts audience members from 19 countries around the world - excluding SA. And, with the massive investment in marketing and publicity from espAfrika and its numerous partners, media recovery has increased to R406 million in 2011.


"The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is as vibrant, multi-cultural and global as ever and it has become a major event on the international music calendar. SA Tourism takes great pride in supporting a proudly South African event which continues to position our country as a leading international player on the jazz scene, along with the likes of New Orleans, Montreux and North Sea Jazz.


We hosted over 100 journalists at the festival this year, from all over Africa and from as far afield as China and the United States and the festival has contributed to helping us position South Africa as a unique lifestyle, fashion, design, leisure and musical destination. We're delighted to see that it continues to contribute strongly to our country's economy and tourism offering," said Thandiwe January-McLean, CEO of South African Tourism.


On the question of benefits within the festival halls, espAfrika CEO and Festival Director Rashid Lombard, says, "As a marketing opportunity, the festival brings brands and consumers together within the perfect space where hearts can be touched and genuine loyalty can be forged."


According to Calvyn Gilfellan, CEO of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, destination marketing organisation for Cape Town and the Western Cape, the Cape Town International Jazz Festivals is one of the iconic events hosted in the city.


"It serves as catalyst in drawing visitors from Africa and has to date given rise to two continental Jazz Festivals one in Mozambique, another in Angola. Developing markets in Africa is one of our strategic focal points and therefore the strategic importance of a mega event like this cannot overstated. The successful hosting of the 2011 Cape Town International Jazz Festival also showcases the event organising ability of our beautiful destination."


"The CTIJF now approaches its thirteenth year and all the experience we've built up over the years has definitely helped us achieve some of our longer term goals," says espAfrika director Billy Domingo who adds that, "To say that the beginning was tough would be putting it very politely. But right at the outset, our key objective was to put on a show where the excellent quality of the performers would be matched by production. And even though costs were sky high, we knew that compromising on quality would sink us."


Besides the impressive results of espAfrika's focus on quality, it also appears that much thought and effort has gone into boosting the music business and associated industries beyond the 3-day festival. The event's highly structured skills transfer program comprises a range of courses in musicianship, arts journalism and business skills.


Organised workshops and master classes are a major attraction for a new generation of musicians hungry for knowledge and techniques. One of the most exciting new developments at CTIJF is the music auditions hosted by the prestigious Berklee College of Music (USA), where 5 students were avoided scholarships. Courses designed to build skills in music event production and in the hard-edged business side of music have proven very popular as well.


On the outlook for the future, Lombard observes that, "Worldwide, creative industries have proven to be viable and highly sustainable. We must do everything we can to learn from these examples and be prepared to innovate at home."


Western Cape Tourism Minister, Alan Winde said, "The Cape Town International Jazz festival has become an integral part of the Western Cape mega-events calendar and of our strategy to grow both domestic and international tourism to the destination. Each year, it brings thousands of tourists to our province, creating and sustaining jobs across this vital sector of our economy. That's why we'd like to see the strong growth that the festival has experienced over the past 12 years continue."


With these latest results, the powerful impact of the CTIJF offers proof of what is possible. And with more space to house the festival in the near future, further growth seems a welcome certainty.


As Rashid Lombard observes, "In these times and especially on our continent, a healthy creative industry has become a necessity, the festival is proof that the arts can be a powerful tool to alleviate socio-economic ills such as poverty and unemployment." Issued by: EspAfrika (END)



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