The J&B Met (with a prize money of R2,5 million) is one of the top events in Cape Town, and used to have a strong tourism impact, receiving sponsorship and marketing support from Cape Town Routes Unlimited, but the event at Kenilworth Racecourse today appears to have the poorest attendance by out-of-towners ever, if Camps Bay accommodation bookings (or lack of) is anything to go by.
Traditionally stimulating the Cape Town fashion and hospitality industry, the J&B Met is a sought-after event on the Cape Town social calendar, and is estimated to attract 50000 punters today. “Last year the direct economic impact of people attending the J&B Met came close to R40 million. This was with only 41 200 attending. With more attendees this year, we expect the yield to be higher,” said Calvyn Gilfellan, CEO of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, marketing Cape Town and the Western Cape. “The importance of events in promoting a destination cannot be underestimated as they are great catalysts for drawing visitors to the province year round. We hope that this event will introduce a slew of new visitors from Southern Africa to experience the charms of our wonderful destination,” he added.
To demonstrate Responsible Tourism, the fashion theme for the J&B Met is ‘Made Different’, encouraging fashionistas to have their outfits made from recycled and remodelled fashion, vying to win the ‘Most Elegant Couple’ competition. A percentage of ticket sales will go to the conservation of the Kenilworth Conservation Area, home to a number of protected plant and wildlife species.
Cape Town Tourism’s estimate that the J&B Met, the 35th, will contribute R65 million to the Western Cape today appears widely over-stated, given that for the first time in many years there are barely any accommodation bookings for J&B Met attendees at guest houses in Camps Bay, traditionally fully booked for this last weekend in January. Instead of spreading the tourism benefit of the J&B Met amongst as many of its members as possible, Cape Town Tourism has partnered with one hotel only, Southern Sun Newlands, offering a two-day R2479 package, which includes a flight with Mango, in conjunction with UbuntuDeal.
J&B Met, Kenilworth Racecourse. R175. www.jbmet.co.za
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage