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Cape culture as a tourism booster

Cape Town is world-renowned as a hub of refined culture, excellent cuisine, spectacular art, and fascinating museums. Now the city's drawing the crowds thanks to a related, but less mainstream attraction.
Cape culture as a tourism booster

Cape Town’s mural art showcases the city’s diverse culture

The sixth edition of the International Public Art Festival (IPAF) takes place in Cape Town from 23 to 27 February 2022. Hosted by Baz Art, this is Africa’s largest public arts festival, showcasing Cape Town’s highly creative street art.

Every year during this time, the city becomes a canvas for mural artists from around the globe, invited to adorn the city with their best interpretations of this year’s theme, ‘humanity’.

The event lures thousands of art and culture buffs from around the country to admire this unique showcase. Cape Town residents arrive in their droves and upcountry fans can simply book a flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town to enjoy the vibe.

Exploring new horizons

Traditionally, the suburb of Salt River formed the backdrop for these artistic works, but the festival is taking it mainstream this year, with several CBD high-rise buildings earmarked to showcase enormous, vibrant pieces of street art.

In this way, the festival not only creates a talking point for all those who indulge themselves in the heart of it, but it also serves to rejuvenate the Cape Town skyline. Once drab, uniform buildings are now reborn as brilliant showcases providing talking points and a sense of community pride.

The long-held belief that improving the appearance of a community applies. During the 1980s and beyond, the US Broken Window Program proved that improving the appearance of an area leads to increased harmony and decreased crime rates in an environment.

The festival centres on Harrington Street, where a host of interactive events, art workshops, and activations take place. This hub is also the starting point for insightful guided walking tours to admire the murals and better understand the meaning behind them.

Evening activities revolve around enjoying some of the city’s night life, cuisine, and live entertainment.

Harnessing tourism for growth

While Cape Town enjoys many outstanding, unique tourist attractions, it’s easy for travellers to eventually reach a ‘been there, done that’ frame of mind.

The city boasts magnificent beaches and beautiful surrounding landscapes, but it’s not the only coastal playground in the country. Eventually all travellers crave a change of scenery, and South Africa has no shortage of gorgeous destinations to explore.

What’s more, Cape Town must compete with thousands of global destinations striving for exactly the same thing.In the last few years, tourism worldwide has suffered tremendously under travel restrictions, so it’s vital for tourist destinations to stand out from the crowd if they want to survive.

If there’s one thing that one destination can’t take from another, it’s culture. No two places have exactly the same artistic talent, cultural ethos, or demographic.

Part of Cape Town’s attraction is its ability to re-invent itself constantly, so that there’s always something new to discover no matter how many times you visit.

Ever-evolving events like IPAF fit right into the ongoing evolution of Cape Town, serving to draw the curious back time after time.

More tourists mean more money, and more money means more jobs.

So, what may seem to the traveller like an interesting amble to view some incredible artworks, is in fact a vital cog in the wheel of progress for Cape Town and South Africa, too.

Lasting impact

Cultural events like IPAF are an excellent way to communicate a community’s values, uniqueness, and talents. In this way, they have a lasting impact on the image people have of a destination – acting like a type of low-key PR for the city.

Well-run events engender a sense of confidence from an investor point of view, by showcasing the fact that a destination has the resources, manpower, and infrastructure to cope with managing complex situations.

Among communities, they highlight the value and profits to be had from working together toward a more prosperous future – and that’s never a bad thing.

The role of businesses in promoting cultural events

It’s easy to see how established businesses can help promote and sustain cultural events by means of sponsorships, support, manpower, and intellectual resources.

Involvement in these events can work wonders for brand-building and promoting businesses, while the positive benefits impact the entire economy and community of an area.

Sources: provided and https://baz-art.co.za/highlights/; https://www.capetown.travel/international-public-art-festival-2022-in-cape-town-cbd/; https://ipafest.co.za/

https://www.simplypsychology.org/broken-windows-theory.html; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315798752_The_contribution_of_cultural_events_to_the_formation_of_the_cognitive_and_affective_images_of_a_tourist_destination.


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