In July 2020, 77.4% of the businesses the Cape Town Central City Improvement District’s (CCID) surveyed said they may have to shut before year-end. Six months on, and the situation is vastly improved, with 57% of businesses saying they have no risk of closure by mid-2021.
The CCID’s recent Come Back to Town campaign – the first of its kind in a South African CBD – reached a wider audience through multiple channels, including 1.1 million through social media alone.
Focused on encouraging people to return to Cape Town Central City to work, eat and play, the campaign contributed to amassing critical groundswell in the area, primarily to support local businesses and engage with corporates and provincial government on office workers returning to their CBD workplaces.
The campaign aims to attract employees, businesses and local, national and international visitors back to Cape Town and its Central City following the economic devastation wrought by various levels of Lockdown restrictions to stem the coronavirus pandemic.
Tasso Evangelinos, CEO of the CCID, says, “Lockdown has had huge implications for businesses in downtown Cape Town. We launched this campaign, a first-of-its-kind for a South African commercial centre, in an effort to help turn the situation around to support our stakeholders, who are our CBD business partners and residents. In the dire aftermath of the lockdowns, we knew we needed to do something special.”
A vibrant CBD with active small businesses and involved large corporates has a multiplying impact on the rest of the city, outlying residential areas and wider metropole. Evangelinos concludes, “The Western Cape contributes R436-billion (Q4 2019) to the national GDP. About 71% of this comes from Cape Town. The City plays a major role in retaining the nation’s economic health. That’s why we’ve focused considerable effort and resources on attracting traffic back to town to bolster businesses and revive economic activity. There’s much to be positive about. As we head into the second year of lockdown, I am amazed by the agility and resilience shown by businesses in the Cape Town CBD and encouraged to see more and more people returning to the heart of the city.”