Thursday 22 August, 2019

Montego Bay expected to generate US$12 million from Sumfest

Business leaders and tourism stakeholders in Montego Bay are expecting a major financial boost from the staging of the annual Reggae Sumfest.

The event is being held over seven days, from July 14 to 20, and will be highlighted by a stage show on July 19 and 20 at Catherine Hall.

Montego Bay’s Mayor, Councillor Homer Davis, said the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB)-sponsored event is expected to generate some US$12 million in earnings for the city during the period.

He noted that 8,000 visitors, who will be staying in hotels, villas and guest houses, are expected to make the pilgrimage into Montego Bay for the star-studded event.

“Going by the JTB’s formula, it is estimated that visitors will spend US$1,500 per person… so about US$12 million should be injected into the economy of Montego Bay,” he said.

Mayor Davis noted that “it is not just the hotels and big businesses that will benefit but the artisans in the craft market, the vendors on the roads and at all the hotspots, all the stores… large and small. The event is good for the economy of Montego Bay”.

Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) President, Omar Robinson, said “from the small properties to the bigger properties, everyone should see some business from the expected influx of visitors”.

“This is good for the entire region… not just Montego Bay. It is also a huge boost for tourism and other related businesses,” he said.

Robinson noted that “there is a buzz that we haven’t seen in a long time surrounding this event, and we expect it to get bigger and bigger in the coming days. Hotels all the way from Ocho Rios, Trelawny right down to Montego Bay are currently benefiting”.

President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Janet Silvera, for her part, said there is an excitement surrounding this year’s staging of Reggae Sumfest.

“I don’t know if it is the quality lineup, which includes some of the biggest reggae acts in the world or whether it is the top-class promotion, which included the JTB.”

“What is clear, however, is that this will easily be the biggest Sumfest ever, and judging by what I saw at the street party on Monday (June 15), the next few days should be interesting,” she said.

 Silvera noted that large and small properties are seeing an increase in business.

“Persons are renting out their houses… renting rooms in their houses and even those on the Airbnb programme are seeing numbers they have never seen before. I don’t know the figures, but it is safe to say that millions of dollars will be pumped into the Montego Bay economy over the coming days,” she added.

Meanwhile, promoter Joe Bogdanovich said that based on ticket sales to date, this year’s Sumfest could be the biggest ever.

“All our premium tickets are sold out and general tickets are going fast. It will be the biggest Sumfest, and we are working hard to ensure that we will be able to handle the additional numbers in the venue,” he said.

Bogdanovich said that the organising committee is putting the final touches on Catherine Hall, noting that additional parking is being identified.

“Sumfest is ready. All the various parties are ready – our sponsors, our performers, our security, food vendors, artisans, and our gate staff,” he said.

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