Queer Project boosts city econ­omy by R26m

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BUSINESS - HENRIËTTE GELDENHUYS

HAILED as the big­gest cos­tume party in the coun­try, the Mother City Queer Project ( MCQP) in­jects a whop­ping R26 mil­lion into the city’s econ­omy.

Most rev­ellers who party the night away at the event held each year in Cape Town earn more than R18 000 a month. And the ma­jor­ity of the party-go­ers are over 35.

These were among the find­ings of a study done on the eco­nomic im­pact of the MCQP.

This year’s event, the 18th such party – themed Maid in China – is be­ing held at the Cape Town Con­ven­tion Cen­tre tonight.

Chris Hat­tingh com­pleted the two-year study into the 2009 MCQP this year for his Mas­ter’s de­gree in tech­nol­ogy and hos­pi­tal­ity man­age­ment at the Cape Penin­sula Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy.

He found vis­i­tors spent R7 500 on the MCQP and re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties, such as accomodation, food, trans­port, tick­ets and cos­tumes, while lo­cals spent about R1 800.

Four hun­dred party-go­ers were in­ter­viewed on the night of that event, themed Tool­box and held on De­cem­ber 19 at the Bis­cuit Mill in Wood­stock.

Al­to­gether 39 busi­nesses also filled in ques­tion­naires.

Hat­tingh found 40 per­cent of the 2 240 peo­ple who at­tended the 2009 event were over 35, 33 per­cent be­tween the ages of 26 and 34, while 27 per­cent were be­tween 18 and 25.

“It is thus im­por­tant the de­mands of peo­ple over 35 be met,” Hat­tingh said in his the­sis.

He rec­om­mended the ticket price be low­ered and said it might be too ex­pen­sive for stu­dents, who fall into the 18 to 25 age group.

In terms of in­come, Hat­tingh found 40 per­cent of MCQP party- go­ers earned more than R18 000 a month.

Among these, 16 per­cent earned up to R30 000 a month, 7 per­cent up to R45 000, 6 per­cent up to R60 000, 3 per­cent up to R80 000 a month and 8 per­cent more than R80 000.

“If the MCQP could at­tract more of these high- in­come tourists, the eco­nomic im­pact would in­crease with­out the num­ber of party go­ers in­creas­ing.

“Gay cou­ples are said to have higher lev­els of ed­u­ca­tion and a higher av­er­age in­come than straight cou­ples.”

Hat­tingh refers to them as DINKS, which stand for Dis­pos­able In­come, No Kids.

The ma­jor­ity of the 39 busi­nesses in­ter­viewed – 46 per­cent – had a slight in­crease in in­come dur­ing the MCQP, while 18 per­cent re­ported a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in sales.

Busi­nesses that ben­e­fited most were bars, night­clubs, es­cort agen­cies, ac­com­mo­da­tion es­tab­lish­ments, male spas, restau­rants and re­tail shops.

Thir­teen per­cent of the busi­nesses cre­ated be­tween two to five jobs as a re­sult of the MCQP, although most were tem­po­rary to co­in­cide with the one-night event.

The ma­jor­ity of at­ten­dees, about 70 per­cent, were from Cape Town, while 11 per­cent were from Gaut­eng.

Twelve per­cent were from for­eign coun­tries, in­clud­ing Bel­gium, France, Ger­many, the Nether­lands, Scot­land, Swe­den, the UK and the US.

Most re­spon­dents – 47 per­cent – spent a week in Cape Town, while about 20 per­cent spent be­tween a week and a month in the city.

Among Hat­tingh’s rec­om­men­da­tions was the party should be ex­tended from a onenight to a week-long fes­ti­val, per­haps from Christ­mas to New Year, Cape Town’s busiest pe­riod.

“Make the fes­ti­val long and at­trac­tive enough to en­cour­age overnight stays in Cape Town.

“In­clude ac­tiv­i­ties such as hikes, sports com­pe­ti­tions, the­atre, art exhibitions and a cir­cuit party.”

Hat­tingh’s the­sis also noted that although Cape Town was a world-class pink desti­na­tion, its main com­peti­tors were Ibiza, Grand Ca­naria, Mykonos, Barcelona and Syd­ney.

PIC­TURE: LEON LESTRADE

PARTY TIME: The three mem­bers of Lady­li­cious, pre­vi­ously named La Vu­vuzela, are ready to en­ter­tain the MCQP crowd tonight. From the left are Sa­man­tha Heldsinger, Tarryn Lamb and Tam­sin Maker.

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