Festival and event tourism

Festival and event

Due to the variety of benefits associated with the hosting of events including investment opportunities, local community employment, economic diversification, improved infrastructure, increased economic equity between urban and rural populations as well as destination awareness, events form a key element in the tourism industries of most countries and developing countries such as South Africa is no exception. For South Africa, the hosting of festivals and events are crucial in achieving the goals set out by the National Development Plan (NDP), especially in terms of alleviating poverty through job creation. Our research, therefore, covers a broad spectrum of festivals and events.

Arts festivals

Our research on national arts festivals focuses on conceptualising the distinct nature of the arts festival offerings in the country, which includes marketing and economic impact analyses as well as the greening of festivals. The research not only focuses on segmenting the market and identify the most lucrative markets in terms of loyalty and spending but also how festivals can be used to increase job opportunities in the host city and province and facilitate tourism. We have conducted research at all the major arts festivals in the country, including the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival in Oudtshoorn and the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. Current projects include:

  • Aardklop National Arts Festival
  • Innibos National Arts Festival
  • Toyota US Woordfees
  • Vrystaate Arts Festival


(Image: Lurinda Fourie Photography)

Music festivals and live music performances

Before 2009, little to no information was available on the market attracted to music festivals or live music performances in South Africa. In 2011 (to present) we were approached by Big Concerts, the premier live performance promotor in the country to conduct marketing and economic impact analyses of various live music performances. Our research also included youth festivals such as the Samsung Rage. We are currently involved in various national and international music festivals. Our research shows that music festivals and performances have the potential to create benefits beyond the event itself or the host destination, particularly fostering an appreciation of a music genre, increasing purchasing of music, and boosting music tourism. The findings, therefore, indicated the far-reaching benefits that can contribute to the legacy of music festivals, how festivals can practically capitalise on these benefits and influence visitors’ behaviour and continued loyalty. Current projects include:

  • Cape Town International Jazz Festival
  • Standard Bank Joy of Jazz
  • H2O
  • Spring Fiesta
  • NWU Symphonic Orchestra