Sumfest to plug US$6m in MoBay
Reggae Sumfest is expected to provide a US$6 million shot in the arm to the economy of Montego Bay and its environs when the curtain goes up on July 17.
Created as a vehicle for stimulating tourism during the slow summer months, the event provides a huge fillip for the Montego Bay economy, says Robert Russell, former chairman of Sumfest promoters, Summerfest Productions Ltd.
“Sumfest annually attracts 4,000 visitors to Montego Bay; the JTB (Jamaica Tourist Board) says that they typically spend US$1,500 each. A lot of people depend on the festival to send their children back to school in September. The hotels, rental cars, taxis, craft vendors... everybody looks to Sumfest as it’s a big economic boost for Montego Bay and, by extension, Jamaica,” Russell said.
The festival, which is part sponsored by the JTB, is scheduled for Catherine Hall in Montego Bay, St James from July 17-23.
Gloria Henry, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce & Industry, agrees that Sumfest provides an essential economic jolt.
“Hotels are filled; restaurants, food services, bars and car rental companies do great business. The impact is far-reaching, and apart from the fiscal benefits, the festival is a great calendar event marketed locally and overseas, which helps to promote Montego Bay as a great place to do business,” she said.
Sumfest’s best-attended date has consistently been Dancehall Night, featuring almost 30 deejays. It draws over 12,000 patrons.
Traditionally at least 20,000 fans attend the festival over its three nights of show.
“From the days of Sunsplash, this period has traditionally been very important to Montego Bay because we are coming out of the tourist season at the end of April. Sumfest provides a boost that keeps the hotels operational by filling rooms for a week or two,” Robin Russell, general manager of Deja Resorts, said.