Smirnoff Dream weekend to pump a billion into economy, say organisers
Western Jamaica is expected to earn approximately $1 billion this week with the staging of Smirnoff Dream weekend.
"Easily a billion dollars is generated for the parish during this period," said Kamal Bankay of Dream Entertainment, promoters of the event,
Bankay's estimate includes the consideration that 6,000 to 7,000 hotel rooms are solidly booked for the event at an average of US$250 ($22,188) per room.
"That alone translates into over US$2 million. In addition to this are taxes and meals, which on average amounts to about US$170 per day per person," Bankay said.
Preparations are well underway for the annual series of parties, which will be held in Negril, Westmoreland from August 1 to 6. Founded in 2009, the Dream Weekend has solidified its reputation and position as one of the premier entertainment events on the island.
Bankay anticipates this year's staging of Dream to attract about 15,000 patrons and said the investment being made by his promotion team results in tangible spin offs for the entire community, in and around Negril.
"Our investment in Western Jamaica is quite significant and translates into hundreds of jobs, new business opportunities and several other economic and social spin offs. As the promoters of the renowned event, we are happy to know that it is contributing to the development of Negril and the country's overall progress, especially in this our 50th year of Independence," said Bankay.
"We create many economic opportunities for each person, from the street side vendor, to the restaurants to the hotels and taxi services. Each business and business person makes something extra during this period," he added.
Hoteliers, restaurants and vendors are bracing for increased earnings over the period, said Savanna-La-Mar mayor Bertel Moore.
"We are really happy to be hosting the event again. It always results in a boost for business activities in and around the parish and we expect similar returns this time around," the mayor said.
Sandals Resorts CEO Adam Stewart and Nekeisha Kozer of Kool Runnings Water Park are among the business interests who have highlighted positive spinoffs from the event.
Stewart said that properties around the area enjoy high occupancy levels during the period leading up to and right after the festival, while Kozer noted that her park experiences significantly higher patronage during the period.
What's more is that storeowners and restauranteurs experience a 20 per cent increase in sales, said Bankay, who lauded the hotel and airline industries for playing a significant role in the event's success over the years.
Smirnoff brand manager Marsha Lumley said that the economic benefits are one of the major reasons why Smirnoff has continued to be the title sponsors of the event.
"Smirnoff Dream weekend has become very important to the continued visibility and success of Brand Jamaica. Smirnoff is committed to nation building and we realize that through our sponsorship the country will benefit," Lumley said.
Erin Mitchell, brand manager at Red Stripe, expressed similar sentiments to Lumley.
"It's a special year for Jamaica and Red Stripe will be adding its new flavours of Red Stripe Light to the events," she said.