n Acta Commercii - The economic impact of the Volksblad Arts Festival

Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2413-1903
  • E-ISSN: 1684-1999


Arts festivals, as a form of event tourism, are becoming more and more popular in South Africa with new festivals developing annually. The Volksblad Arts Festival in Bloemfontein celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2005. The purpose of this paper is to indicate the economic impact of the annual Volksblad Arts Festival on the local economy of Bloemfontein. Results are also compared with research done at other popular festivals in South Africa.

The main thrust of the paper is to determine the economic impact of the Volksblad Arts Festival in Bloemfontein. More than 400 visitor questionnaires and 72 business questionnaires were administered and successfully completed during the festival that took place from 12-17 July 2005.
The results show that this festival generates R18 405 653. If one compares it to festivals such as the KKNK in Oudtshoorn, the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and even Aardklop held in Potchefstroom, it is evident that Volksblad is a smaller festival and it is therefore also expected that the economic impact of the festival should be less.
This paper presents a comprehensive approach to understanding the measurement of the economic impact of a festival like the Volksblad Arts Festival. It provides tourism managers of Bloemfontein with an indication of the potential of event tourism as a source of income for the city. It also indicates the need for more extensive marketing in order to increase the percentage of non-local visitors to the particular festival.
Bloemfontein is increasingly regarded as an event tourism destination rather than an end destination for leisure tourists. This research represents an original attempt to indicate the potential impact of events to the tourism managers of Bloemfontein as well as other destinations with similar interests.

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