The annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival contributed R522 million to the economy this year, according to a report on tourism from North-West University.
It attracted visitors from Germany, Switzerland, Canada, France and the US in addition to a larger number from other African countries than in previous years. It also created 2 721 employment opportunities across several industries, 410 of which were exclusively dependent on the festival.
“The impact on tourism from both international and local visitors is considerable, especially for accommodation, the largest spending category,” the report says.
Although the festival itself takes place on only two days, an average of three to four nights were spent in hotels but 6 percent of visitors spent 10 or more nights – 3 percent more than the previous year.
“It is also notable that 25 percent use the jazz festival as a specific opportunity to visit Cape Town.”
Although many visitors were attending the festival for the first time, 56 percent were doing so for the second, third “and even the tenth time”, according to the report.
Festival director Rashid Lombard, the chief executive of organisers espAfrika, a subsidiary of investment company Sekunjalo, said the festival now had “an increasingly loyal following choosing to buy the full weekend pass.
“A total of 37 000 enjoyed a varied line-up on several stages this year, which is remarkable when you think that it started with an attendance of only 10 000 people 13 years ago. It is especially gratifying that each year the tickets sell out more quickly than the year before.
“This year we sold out six weeks before the start of the festival with 41 percent of tickets sold” when sales opened.
According to the report, the festival’s success has increased interest in jazz music across South Africa, with teenagers being introduced to the genre by older people, and similar events are now held elsewhere in the country during the year. “It would seem that the festival’s influence is spreading.”