Making the Mark
Point of Interest
Feedback Form


Genesis of the event (Part 1)

'More small hotels were added to the Negril landscape and the business grew to where the operators were contracting large blocks on Air Jamaica.'

Jamaica's venture into Spring Break was made in early 1980. Sunburst Holidays, a key special event tour operator to Jamaica, had success at packaging low price vacations to Negril in triple and quad accommodations to the student market. Then, the largest hotel was the Sundowner. Only a couple hundred students came per week.

There was no formal programme; beach, Red Stripe beer and local entertainment were sufficient.

Spring Break tour operators, Student Travel Services and Sun Splash Tours that specialised in the segment emerged and two companies joined Sunburst Holidays selling packages to Jamaica and the market grew.

small hotels

More small hotels were added to the Negril landscape and the business grew to where the operators were contracting large blocks on Air Jamaica and running their own charter programmes. The JTB was forced to look at the segment as viable even at the dissatisfaction of hoteliers that felt the students were taking up scarce seats needed from more affluent tourists in the middle of the winter season.

Spring Break students were utilising the small hotel rooms of Montego Bay and Negril and became a segment that qualified for JTB marketing support.

The popular destinations then were the Bahamas, Bermuda, Barbados; later Cancun was developed in Mexico and domestic U.S.A. Bermuda decided to drop their interest in the market segment because of the nature of the client. Bahamas still has a small programme.

Jamaica began to be a featured destination in the '90s with Negril having the strongest appeal and Montego Bay much less because of the limited small hotels, and having only beach clubs to work with, namely Cornwall beach.

The call then and still is now, was for more activities to appeal to students to grow the business. In order to develop, Jamaica needed a programme for the three big weeks of Spring Break in March, with music concerts and night-time activities that can be promoted alongside the marketing Spring Break overseas.

daytime beach parties

The JTB invested through the special events department then, to cooperate with D&G Red Stripe brand to have daytime beach parties on Tuesdays in Ocho Rios, Wednesdays in Montego Bay and Thursdays in Negril free of cost to students with identification cards. This was the first structured spring break event schedule.

These were conducted successfully as tours were planned from Montego Bay and Negril to go to the beach party locations in the respective resorts. Dunn's River Falls beach, Cornwall beach and Negril Tree House beach. Beach parties were held 2- 6 p.m. in the afternoon, with games, live reggae band, sound system music and contests. Similar programmes were repeated in Montego Bay and Negril.

In our next publication, we will look at resistance to the market.

All rights reserved by the Gleaner Company Ltd.
© Gleaner Company | Produced by Go Jamaica
Hospitality Jamaica is updated every two (2) weeks
Privacy Policy