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New tool to track economic impact of festivals

SACO's South African Festival Economic Impact Calculator (SAFEIC) enables events unable to afford a visitor survey to calculate positive economic benefits for free

By Jon Chapple on 02 Jun 2017

OppiKoppi 2011, Hilltop Live, South African Festival Economic Impact Calculator (SAFEIC)

Hilltop Live's OppiKoppi is SA's biggest music festival


image © Ossewa/Wikimedia Commons

A South African public research body has an unveiled online tool to measure the economic impact of music festivals.

The South African Festival Economic Impact Calculator (SAFEIC), developed by the Department of Arts and Culture’s South African Cultural Observatory (SACO), analyses three elements of economic impact: total spending on accommodation; total amount spent by festival promoters in the host economy; and actual economic impact, including the multiplier effect on the host economy.

The tool – the brainchild of American academic Bruce Seaman, of Georgia State University, and Rhodes University lecturer Jen Snowball, also SACO’s chief research strategist – is based on a similar calculator developed in the US.

“Until now, the only way to estimate the economic impact of an event was to run an expensive visitor survey and employ a researcher to analyse the data and calculate the impact,” explains Prof Snowball.

“Until now, the only way to estimate the economic impact of an event was to run an expensive visitor survey and employ a researcher to analyse the data”

“Not all events have the budget to do that, so the SAFEIC offers a reliable way of estimating economic impact at no cost to the organisation.

“While it won’t provide the same level of detail as a survey and impact study done for that specific event, it will provide a realistic estimate of what the economic impact is. An added bonus is that the results can be used in feedback to communities and sponsors.”

According to SACO CEO Richard Haines, SAFEIC will unlock “both an understanding of the impact of events and reporting that supports decision-making”.

“We are very proud of this SACO product, which we are offering free to industry practitioners and researchers,” he comments. “It’s been a great collaboration of minds and we are excited by its potential impact on the industry.”

 


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