As the CEO of a major travel company, I have the privilege of travelling regularly to all corners of the globe and being able to obtain a global perspective on what has the greatest impact on the travel and tourism industry, either from a negative or positive point of view. Something I noticed on a recent trip was that large-scale events, particularly those that have a global interest because they reflect the culture of a country or a city, can be massive money spinners for travel and tourism for a number of reasons.
Much reason to cheers!
I had an amazing trip to attend the Oktoberfest in Munich last month and this is a typical example of the success that a city can have on many levels generating income for itself based on a mega-event. The Oktoberfest is a two-week and three-weekend event that attracts over 6 million people a year to Munich and when one considers that SA gets over 20 million tourists a year in total that puts things in context for you as to the massive scale of this one iconic event.
I’m very excited about Africa’s Green Economy Summit, as I mentioned in a recent article, which will be part of the E-Fest taking place in Cape Town in February next year. It will include a curated mix of content and events showcasing e-mobility in the week leading up to the first-ever E-Prix on the African continent. Not only will global delegates contribute towards two days of deep dialogue around the green economy, but the entire event (including the E-Prix) will generate massive income for the travel and tourism industry in Cape Town. It will, in fact, generate income for the whole country as many delegates and competitors will no doubt enjoy some game viewing and seek other activities country-wide during their time in South Africa.
The need to create local events
This kind of event, like international sporting events being held in your country, that attracts massive audiences and travellers is great and should always be encouraged but I guess the point I’m trying to make is that these don’t always come to us and can’t be relied on as a permanent source of tourism and travel income. Research has also shown that in the case of these types of events (like the Rugby or Football World Cup) it is mostly only people from participating countries that attend them.
The only way we can achieve what Oktoberfest does is to create local events that remain iconic events on our calendars and attract international interest. We have so many diverse cultures, all with their unique art forms of dance, music, traditional food and drink etc. that we should be able to create several Oktoberfest events of our own. It’s not just about people either. The whale festival in Hermanus and our various flower and garden festivals are other examples of how we can create events around all that this amazing country has to offer.
Show with pride!
Without question, events can greatly impact tourism and travel growth. As individuals, as Events co-ordinators and as a country we need to all contribute to an initiative that would see international events form a regular part of our travel and tourism drive. We have so much to show and be proud of and we already have millions of tourists just looking for something exciting on which to spend their money. Through well-organised events, we can maximise tourism spending and with well-targeted global advertising, attract many new tourists to our shores, so what event will you be planning for 2023?LIDIA FOLLI
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER