As we slowly emerge from the third Covid wave in South Africa and remain at some vaguely understandable adjusted lock down level, it is difficult to imagine the large-scale return of events, festivals and packed sports stadiums. Some pundits say our behavior has been irrevocably changed and we must get used to the “new normal” whatever that is?
The reality is that we just need to look North to the United Kingdom to see what is possible in a relatively short space of time if we continue to vaccinate at pace.
With their Covid restrictions completely removed they have just enjoyed “The Great British Summer of Sport” which included packed venues and stadiums for:
Although the UK’s Covid infections did increase, as a result of their high vaccination levels, hospitalizations have remained low. The sporting bonanza itself has stimulated the UK economy to the tune of billions of pounds and the complete opening up of the hospitality industry has further contributed to ensuring that the UK’s economy is scheduled to return to the same GDP figures as they were enjoying pre-pandemic by the end of 2021. A commitment to a fast vaccination roll-out and a brave understanding that getting things back to normal as quickly as possible was in the best interest of the country has seen the UK powering ahead where other countries such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand fumble along with various unpopular lock-down policies.
With South Africa’s vaccinations picking up pace and at latest count close to the 12 million mark there is certainly light ahead for our lockdown weary citizens.
As a nation we are arguably even more sociable than our UK counterparts having made Sishanyama, braaing music festivals, sporting events and other large-scale imbizo’s and gatherings part of our national fabric.
With thousands of much needed jobs reliant on the events and entertainment industry, South Africa needs to forge ahead with the re-opening of the economy.
It is good to see a number of organizations and events “looking through” the pandemic and building an even stronger base and platform to flourish in the years to come.
The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is one event in point. With their sponsors and partners, they have continued to invest and build in the race. Recently they have been rewarded for their efforts and announced as an Abbott World Marathon Majors candidate. They are the first marathon in Africa or the Southern Hemisphere for that matter to be given the opportunity to join the iconic marathons of the world namely: New York, Chicago, Boston, London, Berlin and Tokyo. Should the race permanently achieve Abbott World Marathon Majors status in the coming years it will take the race to another level. It could mean the race would receive up to 10,000 additional foreign running entries with a total influx of 25,000 additional foreign tourists. Conservatively this could boost the economy of Cape Town and South Africa by as much as R500 million. This is music to the ears of South Africa’s guesthouses, restaurants and other small businesses that have battled to remain afloat.
Cape Town has made a big effort to position itself as the events capital of South Africa and it looks certain to reap further rewards as a result. A Formula E – ePrix has been confirmed for a street circuit in the city and the 2023 Netball World Cup is also just over the horizon.
So, when you are on your next Zoom call, refrain from planning a mass jumble sale of your dusty high heels and smart shirts, as a naturally gregarious species events and social gatherings will make a big return in the not too distant future.
I for one certainly look forward to raising a non-socially distanced toast on that happy day.
Brands with vision and foresight, who would like to capture attention and build a memorable and meaningful connection with their audience, should align with their celebratory mood when large scale events return. Now therefore is the time to begin planning to ensure a distinctive first to market approach that creates maximum impact.
As multi-experience experts our team at Matriarch knows how to use human engagement to drive sales. We use creative concepts that are audience led and media agnostic. We deliver and amplify the engagement through spaces, experiences and content. So, give us a call and let’s see how we can create something that your audience responds to, remembers and loves.