City events inject billions into the local economy


Cape Town has increasingly become a popular events destination of choice. Testimony to this is the significant year-on-year increase in the number of events being hosted in the city. Aside from the huge economic injection into the local economy, the creation of much-needed jobs is also welcomed. While these jobs may be temporary in nature, they afford the individuals an opportunity to gain on-the-job training. Read more below: 


The City of Cape Town supported 45 events in the first quarterof 2013 (July to September). This number increased steadily to 90 events in 2014 and to a phenomenal 165 events in 2015. The economic spin-offs from these events hold enormous benefits for the city and its residents.

Cape Town Marathon 2015

Cape Town Marathon 2015

This year there has been a mix of events hosted across the city. A number of national junior sporting events took place at indoor venues during the mid-year school holidays and a range of cultural events and music festivals featured on the events calendar. Other indoor events that were well suited for the winter season were the Innovation Summit, the Maker Faire and various entrepreneurship conferences. Winter festivals seem to be gaining some ground on the more traditional events and this year they took place in Somerset West and Durbanville.


Added to this mix are the bigger sporting events that attract a large number of domestic and international participants and media. These events are the biggest contributors to local coffers. While it is not always possible to establish the economic contribution of all events, the international exposure for the city is phenomenal. The City’s support is part of our strategy to attract big events to the city and to position Cape Town as the events capital of Africa.

WDC New Years Eve Grand Parade Party

WDC New Years Eve Grand Parade Party

‘Collectively, the large events that attract national and international participants to the city contribute in the region of R2 billion or more annually. In addition, the economic contribution by our residents and domestic visitors who support local events should not be underestimated. We welcome the ripple effect by way of job experience and job creation during the events and after. The increased spending at our attractions and across the hospitality industry, coupled with the need for local associated services that benefit directly from these events, serve as an injection into the local economy,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development, Councillor Garreth Bloor.

Cape Town Marathon 2015

Cape Town Marathon 2015

Below is a snapshot of the contribution to the local economy and media reach of key events, as supplied by the event organisers:


Absa Cape Epic (2015)

·         R300 million contribution to the economy

·         39% international participants (representing 55 countries)

·         1 100 hours of television coverage in 88 countries to an audience of 60 million

·         3 million Cape Epic YouTube Channel views

·         1 million YouTube views during the event

·         852 000 visits to the Cape Epic website

·         200 000 live streams to 150 countries during the event

·         Total money raised for charity in 2015 totalled R1,5 million through riders for various charities


Africa Travel Week (2015)

·         305 hosted buyers representing over 20 countries

·         694 exhibitors from across Africa and the world

·         4 127 trade visitors from over 60 countries

·         18% increase in visitors and a 39% increase in overall travel professionals in 2015

·         47 media professionals from across the world attended

·         10 City of Cape Town interns we selected to participate and gain experience

·         R6,1 million worth of media coverage

·         37% of the 197 buyers indicated that they placed orders to the value of between US$10 000 to US$500 000

·         84% of these buyers will, over the next year, generate further business

Cape Town Cycle Tour (2015)

·         R408 million to the economy

·         1 500 jobs created

·         Traditional media value worth R68,3 million

·         Social media value worth R49 million

·         Total events exposure worth R117,5 million

·         42 510 cyclists participated from countries across the globe


Cape Town Tens (2015)

·         23 500 attendees

·         1 398 jobs supported

·         2 350 participants (140 teams)

·         3 561 bed nights

·         55% of attendees were from outside of the Western Cape

Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon (2015)

·         Estimated R266 million contributed to the economy

·         A record field of close to 27 000 runners lined up

·         The ultra-marathon attracted a record field of 11 000 entrants, making it the biggest event entry field for the ultra-marathon in the event history. Two-thirds of the participants were from outside the Western Cape

·         The half-marathon attracted 16 000 participants and broke all entry records, making this the biggest half-marathon in South Africa

·         The trail run also broke records with 1 000 participants and all completing the race in under three hours

·         More than 2 000 participants hailed from 79 different countries

·         Each runner brings with them an average of 2,2 supporters/visitors

·         50 000 people visited the Expo


ITU World Triathlon Series (2015)

·         112 elite athletes participated representing 33 countries

·         Global television coverage received on 26 contracted television networks

·         Over 132 hours of broadcasting time

·         573 903 Twitter impressions from January – April 2015

·         Post reach on Facebook: 182 251

·         In 2015 mass participation increased by 25,88 % from 2014

·         The largest increase was seen in the sprint distance which went up by 55,35%

·         A third indicator of growth is the fact that 54,71% of the participants classified themselves as triathlon novices, proving that the event is inclusive and the sport is accessible


Mining Indaba (based on similar numbers for the 2014 event)

·         R500 million contributed to the economy

·         7 800 delegates

·         1 500 international companies

·         100 countries represented


Blind Cricket World Cup (2015)

·         R1,5 million to the economy

·         Seven countries participated (England, Australia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka)

·         124 visitors

·         Provided paid employment to five people for the duration of the event



While the contribution by some events cannot be measured economically, their contribution to a broader cause must be commended. To cite an example, the organisers of the annual Toy Run received and distributed 23 300 toys to 82 receiving organisations across 409 locations. In addition, 15 000 teddy bears were distributed in the Western Cape alone. The estimated (conservative) value of the toys was R4,8 million. Support for such a cause, for the greater good cannot have a price tag attached to it.


The annual South African Navy Festival is also synonymous with the Cape Town landscape and has become an institution especially for residents. The festival attracted over 100 000 visitors over a three-day period.


While some events such as the L’Ormarins Queens Plate may be viewed as an event for the well-heeled, an estimated 1 000 jobs in the fields of security, cleansing and hospitality were supported.


‘The direct economic impact through visitor and organiser spend is estimated at over hundreds of millions of rands per event. Events are also a catalyst for providing outstanding visitor experiences in a unique and incredibly beautiful setting. Year-round events also help to address seasonality, especially in the low winter period. More importantly the job exposure, especially for our youth, is crucial,’ added Councillor Bloor.


Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town