News received from the organisers of Mr Gay World 2015 - Final now to be held in Knysna – see attached press release.
GRAND FINALE TO BE HELD IN KNYSNA ON 2 MAY 2015
In a disappointing development, the City of Cape Town has informed the Mr. Gay World™ (MGW) 2015 organisers that it will not support the international event, taking place this April and May.
The week-long contest will be held in Cape Town and Knysna from 26 April to 3 May 2015. This was to include hosting the Grand Finale at the Cape Town City Hall, at which the winner was to be announced.
Councillor Garreth Bloor, Mayoral Committee Member: Tourism, Events and Economic Development, featured in the MGW official bid video, presented in Rome in August last year, appeared to indicate the city’s support for the event then. (See here: https://youtu.be/ceKbB7kDk7Y )
The producers of this year’s Mr. Gay World™, the Globeflight Pink Loerie Mardi Gras & Arts Festival™ submitted the required paperwork and asked the city to assist with items including: financial support, a tour of landmarks, a meet and greet with the Executive Mayor and "access to anything that would promote Cape Town to the delegates, Directors and President of Mr. Gay World™”.
This has all been declined. The city says it is unable to help the organisers in facilitating the event or the visit by around 30 international delegates and numerous foreign MGW officials.
In an earlier sign of apparent disinterest in the event, representatives from Cape Town Tourism confirmed their attendance at a MGW media conference on Thursday 5 March but failed to arrive, without advising the organisers.
Due to the City of Cape Town’s lack of support, organisers have now been forced to move the Grand Finale, the highlight of the contest, to Knysna.
"Support from the local host city government and tourism authorities is crucial for an international event like Mr. Gay World™. In fact, it is a requirement," explained a disappointed Coenie Kukkuk; Mr. Gay World™ Director of Africa & Middle East and Managing Director of Mr. Gay World™ 2015.
Kukkuk noted that past host cities' officials and tourism authorities have always supported the event and have met with MGW representatives during their visit. In most cases, like in Manila and Oslo, officials have handed the keys of the city to the President of Mr. Gay World™.
He revealed that, "Knysna's authorities have shown their support to the producers and the event. Knysna's Executive Mayor is hosting a special welcoming function for the delegates on the evening of 29 April and we look forward to an outstanding Grand Finale of Mr. Gay World™ 2015 in Knysna. The delegates will also march in the annual Pink Loerie parade on Saturday 2 May at 3 pm."
Kukkuk went on to comment that Cape Town has lost an opportunity to boost its reputation as a welcoming and gay-friendly tourism destination.
"There are visitors and delegates arriving from more than 30 countries. That in itself shows the reach of the event. And each will not only be spending at local businesses, but could become goodwill ambassadors. That cannot be put into monetary terms. Word of mouth is still the best tool to market a destination," he added.
The President of Mr. Gay World™, Mr. Eric Butter from Australia, said from Sydney: “Mr. Gay World™ fully supports the organisers in their decision to hold the Grand Finale in Knysna. We are very sad that such an amazing and unique city as Cape Town turned us down, put one door closes and another one opens and we are delighted to be coming to such a magical place like Knysna for our Grand Finale!”
The Mr. Gay World™ Grand Finale will now take place on Saturday 2 May 2015 at the Conference & Exhibition Space, First Floor, Knysna Mall, Main Street, Knysna at 8pm (above Mugg & Bean). Tickets are R230 each and for VVIP R330 and may be booked already by mailing your initials and surname and number and type of tickets to firstname.lastname@example.org. R10 of every ticket will go the the Pink Loerie charities namely the Mayor’s Social Relief Fund, Knysna Animal Welfare & Loeriehof Retirement Home.
A number of planned events will still go ahead in Cape Town, such as a visit to Parliament (kindly facilitated by an out MP), as well as the Mr. Gay World™ Farewell & After Party at Beaulah Bar on Sunday 3 May 2015, from 8pm.
Mr. Gay World™ 2015 coincides with the annual Globeflight Pink Loerie Mardi Gras & Arts Festival™ in Knysna, taking place from Wednesday 29 April to Sunday 3 May 2015. For more information please visit www.pinkloerie.co.za, www.mrgayworld.com or www.facebook.com/PinkLoerie.
ABOUT MR GAY WORLD™
Now in its seventh year, Mr. Gay World™ is the culmination of an annual worldwide search for a diplomat to represent the global gay community. South Africa is the first country to host the event twice, after the successful Johannesburg 2012 outing. South African contestants won Mr Gay World™ in 2010 and 2011, and came second in 2012. The 2013 winner, New Zealander Chris Olwage, was born and raised in South Africa.
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