Keep the night vibrant

2017-06-07 06:02

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Vibrant nightlife is an important part of a city’s economic destiny and cultural reality, as cities increasingly compete against each other.

Urban tourists are consumers that indulge in the Night-Time Economy (NTE), which is key in creating and sustaining thousands of jobs and businesses, thus driving economic growth.

Cities have realised the benefits that can accrue from the development of the NTE.

The NTE is, according to Prof. Christian Rogerson of the University of Johannesburg, a strategy of improving the night life of cities.

“In some cases, this is pursued in order to attract particularly younger tourists for clubbing as part of the so-called 24-hour a day city,” says Rogerson.

“In other examples, it involves the organisation of late-night events’’.

The city at night seeks to primarily benefit centres of entertainment and the food and beverage sector, responding to the needs of hedonistic tourists.

The NTE can be used for inner-city regeneration. If planned properly, it can lead to cultural consumption of the historic assets that are usually located in the inner city.

I have realised that Bloemfontein’s Second Avenue is one of the centres of the NTE, just like Harris and Ella Street (common Small Street) close to the Bloemfontein Tourism Centre.

I just wondered whether we are conscious of the fact that the NTE is a great producer of a variety of jobs after the retreat of the sun.

When malls are developed, there is a concerted effort to ensure that the mall remains busy during the day and in the evening.

Bloemfontein is known for its 24-hour transport system called “marwana”, which are streetwise taxis.

Marwana have been the biggest beneficiary of the NTE.

Transportation remains critical for the NTE to succeed and flourish.

When municipalities are encouraged to offer free bus transportation during the evening between NTE hotspots and designated drop off zones, their jaws drop. This is able to grow the NTE, which creates jobs and sustains economies.

Considering that Bloemfontein is a university city with two higher education institutions, the price of transport in the evening remains a rip-off.

One maxi-taxi was ambitious enough to charge a fellow earthling R150 from town to Phase 2.

I was shocked, but let us not despair, as such prices will be a thing of the past, given that Uber is set to operate in Mangaung by this month.

Clever taxi owners have actually seen the benefit of diversifying from minibus taxis to becoming Uber partner driver entrepreneurs. The transparent pricing of Uber ensures that paperwork and admininstration is non-admin, an easy life, that thing called freedom.

Uber is able to offer safe and reliable transportation at prices that will ensure that your wallets are not at junk status, a true form of radical economic transformation.

  • Unathi Henama teaches tourism at the Tshwane University of Technology and writes in his personal ­capacity.

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