A dream that started out as a small party on Long Street in 2010 has now become the Cape Town Carnival, which takes place along the Green Point fan walk and attracts thousands of visitors every year.
“Mother City, Mother Nature” was unveiled as the theme for the 2018 edition of the carnival.
Several City of Cape Town and Western Cape government officials attended the press conference in Granger Bay on Thursday November 30 where the theme was announced.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith said the carnival was important for job creation, the local economy and Cape Town being seen as an “event destination”.
He said 2012 was a key year as the City adopted a new events strategy.
“It also saw us take a look at which events we wanted to support and understanding the incredible catalytic power of some of these events,” said Mr Smith.
Now, according to Mr Smith, the events budget stands at R40 million a year while just eight events contribute R3 billion to the economy and 20 000 jobs.
“Not all of those jobs are permanent but they do ensure that people develop skills and drive new events. I think more importantly there is a lot of social cohesion.
“People are coming together from all parts of the city. It is reminding us that we are all Capetonians and that we are there to have fun.”
He said that the carnival in Rio was a good example of what the Cape Town Carnival could become.
Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, said that these kinds of events were important for tourism.
“In the first quarter of next year we expect about a million tourists to come to Cape Town. We know that about half of those will be coming from overseas.
“Tourism is big business in the Western Cape. They are coming because we have iconic events that are creating a great reason to travel to Cape Town. This event (the Cape Town Carnival) is going from strength to strength.”
He added that the carnival was also driving a lot of business into the city.
Cape Town Carnival Chief Executive Officer Jay Douwes, said the carnival created more than 1 000 jobs last year.
“There are part time jobs but there is a lot of scope to grow. The carnival I think is becoming an iconic event and we hope to provide a lot more jobs in the future.”
Anroux Marais, Western Cape MEC of Arts and Culture, said the Cape Town Carnival played a significant role for the region’s youth, with 70% of participants aged between 16 and 25.
“The carnival encourages their freedom of expression and celebration of their personal and communal identities.”