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Sunday, October 1, 2017


The SA Cultural Observatory has announced the official release of its new training video on the South African Festival Economic Impact Calculator.

The South African Festival Economic Impact Calculator (SAFEIC) is a free, online calculator developed by the SACO specifically for cultural festival and event organisers to help them can track and quantify the economic impact of their events. It was designed to produce a calculated estimate the economic impact of a festival or event on a host economy.

“We are very excited to announce the South African Festival Economic Impact Calculator training video. We realised after giving a couple of workshops on the calculator, that while we have a robust guide for the calculator, people really benefit from some ‘facetime’.

“Obviously we cannot reach everyone everywhere, so we decided to develop a training video which can,” said Prof Jen Snowball, SACO Chief Research Strategist.

Snowball, a professor of economics at Rhodes University developed the SAFEIC with Prof Bruce Seaman from Georgia State University, Atlanta in the United States, for the SACO and the Department of Arts and Culture.

“The video is a step-by-step guide to the calculator and explains everything from what economic impact is, to what data is needed and why for the calculator to provide the best outputs; and gives a visual tutorial on how to input the data and read the results,” Snowball added.

The SAFEIC itself has been carefully, and conservatively, designed so as to produce results that are as reliable and valid as possible for a wide range of events – provided the data that is inputted is as accurate as possible.

The SAFEIC is driven by event data. To run SAFEIC, a festival or event requires a minimum of seven pieces of information including:

1. the number of days the festival or event is run over;

2. the population of the host city or town (obtainable from Stats SA);

3. the total number of attendees;

4. the average visitor spend on accommodation per night (obtainable via visitor survey or data from SA Domestic Tourism);

5. the average visitor spending on items other than accommodation (also obtainable from a survey or SA Domestic tourism);

6. funding or sponsorship received from outside the host town or city; and

7. earnings derived from tickets sales.

When this data is inputted, the calculator then provides an overall estimate of the economic impact of the festivals or events that can be used as part of the monitoring and evaluation process. Results can be used internally for event planning and management, or as part of reports to funders and other stakeholders.

“We are extremely proud of the SAFEIC and the value that it will bring to large and small event and festival organisers alike. Events are big economic drivers, especially for smaller towns, but we don’t know the real extent of the value-add.

“It is important to emphasise that the value of cultural events goes beyond the financial or economic impact of the event. A complete impact study would also include the unique intrinsic and social impacts of the event. The Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, also developed by SACO, provides some guidance on how to measure these non-market values,” she said.

“What SAFEIC does is to help cultural festivals to measure the economic impact of the event as well, which can be a powerful additional argument for their support as part of South Africa’s creative economy.”

The training video is available on the South African Cultural Observatory’s YouTube Channel: For more information on the SAFEIC, visit the online calculator site: