Spring Break revenue falls
REVENUE from this year’s Spring Break fell more than US$5 million below last year’s earning of US$22.6 million, when 33,000 college and high school students visited the island.
Jamaica Tourist Board’s regional general manager, Pat Samuels, told the Observer that preliminary figures indicated that 25,000 students visited the island over the six-week period, spending roughly US$17 million. “So we are down over last year.”
Like other stopover visitors, Spring Breakers are estimated to spend an average US$98 per night and stay up to a week in the country.
Samuels added that the fall-off in earnings could be blamed in part on soft business in the Montego Bay destination, this year, as compared to last year.
“Montego Bay was not overly appealing and not as appealing as Negril, so I think the reduction in Montego Bay stems from that,” Samuels said.
In contrast, according to tourism interests in Negril, their area did well over the same period.
“You can check a wide selection of persons in Negril and you will see that most of them benefited,” said chairman of the Negril chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Carolyn Wright. “You can check with the vendors on the streets, the taxis, the peanut man, the jerk chicken man, everybody benefited.”
Most Spring Breakers vacationed in Negril and were feted at several places including Risky Business and Marguaritaville.
Both entertainment spots had drawn sharp criticism from president of the Negril Chamber of Commerce, Cliff Reynolds, who had charged that only the two popular spots – along with the Legend club – were reaping the benefits of Spring Break.
But Wright shot down Reynolds’ assertions, and claimed that most establishments in the area had benefited.
She added that the code of conduct, which many stakeholders in the industry had agreed to prior to the start of the season, had worked well.
“We had no problems, everything went well, the kids enjoyed themselves,” she said.
But it was hard to determine whether the behaviour exhibited had lived up to the code, as the document was not made available to the media.
“It’s not something that I want to put out in the media, (but) basically it was to keep things under control to ensure that there wasn’t any lewd type of behaviour,” Wright said.
The code of conduct was established after complaints from several quarters about the behaviour of visitors during last year’s Spring Break activities.