BRINGING FOLK TOGETHER: The Cape Town Carnival is set to take place in the city on the popular fan walk on March 17. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency/ANA
Cape Town - Last year's Cape Town Carnival contributed more than R41 million to the city's economy.

The increasingly popular carnival is generating economic benefits for the city and creative industries, as well contributing to social cohesion and helping stimulate the creative economy.

This is according to a socio-economic impact study of the 2017 Cape Town Carnival released this week by the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO), which details the overall impact of the popular festival and its reception by audiences.

Last year, the carnival attracted an estimated 44900 people, as well as 1391 participants in the parade.

In the survey, respondents were asked how much they spend on food, transport and other purchases; locals said they spent an average of R376 while non-local visitors spent an average of R441.

The SACO, a creative economy think tank and the research arm of the Department of ArtsandCulture, said the overall economic impact of the 2017 Cape Town Carnival on the economy of Cape Town was R41.14 million.

Chief research strategist Professor Jen Snowball said: “The carnival is a celebration of culture, creativity and collaboration - and this yields both real financial and social returns.

"The economic impact of R41 million includes multiplier effects and excludes local sponsorship, but there are many other social benefits arising from this event which we are also interested in.”

She added that they found that 45% of the visitors were from outside South Africa.

“The average length of stay in Cape Town was 5.6 nights and the first round net spending of non-locals was about R13.8 million. Eighty percent rated the atmosphere as great and 65% of the audience were younger than 35 years old.”

The 2016 SACO Framework for the Monitoring and Evaluation of Publicly Funded Arts, Culture and Heritage was used to conduct the research, which was completed in collaboration with SADC Research Centre.

Director of the SADC Research Centre, Darryn Durno, said the aims of the event included providing opportunities for community participation and networking, building social cohesion, building tourism and job creation.

“The research shows that these goals are being achieved, and that there are high levels of trust between participants and organisers; and a sense of diversity," Durno said.

"Data was collected via interviews with audiences, data provided by organisers, and focus group discussions held with community participants in the parade.”

The Cape Town Carnival is a six-month production that culminates in a one-day parade that has grown since it was launched in 2010. It now accommodates about two-dozen floats, an estimated 50000 spectators, 1900 performers and 50 participating groups.

This year's edition will take place on March 17 under the theme "Mother City, Mother Nature" and will bring the magnificent plants of Cape Town to life, according to creative director for the carnival, Brad Baard.

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Cape Argus