Business interests are expecting this year’s Reggae Sumfest to bring a significant jolt to the Montego Bay economy, which should also extend to the wider Jamaica. It is being seen as a welcome ease to the current economic crunch and a catapult for more growth.
Each year, the world- renowned Festival draws thousands of overseas visitors into the city and its environs, and with this influx, there comes a remarkable upswing in commerce and its related benefits. Visitors have been known to travel from as far as Australia to attend the Festival, spending on Jamaican products liberally as they seek to enjoy every aspect of the Jamaican brand. From as far back as 2003, it was predicted that significant foreign exchange would flow into the island during the time of the festival. This year’s Festival should bring substantial benefits to a wide variety of business interests primarily in the second city, but extending to other areas of the island.
“We expect Reggae Sumfest to be a major contributor to the economic landscape for this year,” states Johnny Gourzong, Executive Director of Summerfest Productions, producers of Reggae Sumfest. “This Festival causes people to not just spend on it, but to spend in preparation for it, and in several other endeavours related to it, and this year should be no different.”
This reality has been duly noted by the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce, which has over 200 members ranging from small family-run enterprises, to large scale businesses such as hotels and resorts. They all thrive from the boom in the various forms of trade which are direct spin-offs from the Festival, during a period that has traditionally been considered slow in that part of the island.
Data from the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce also indicate that villas, hotels, and guest houses become fully booked, restaurants, cook shops, and cafes get unprecedented patronage, clothing stores, beauty salons and countless other businesses get the spike in activity before, during, and even after the Festival. In addition, the benefits are not confined to the second city, but spread widely to the major towns across the island. The fashion industry is one example, as the clothing stores, the tailors, dressmakers and those that provide accessories get major orders to fill within the period.
With the line-up this year that includes American R&B star Chris Brown, international superstars Shaggy and Beenie Man, Jah Cure, Etana, Queen Ifrica and Mavado, the package again promises to be an excellent lineup, and the expected benefits to the country should follow.
Reggae Sumfest is the most celebrated and supported Reggae festival in Jamaica, and attracts the world’s leading musicians and performers. In its near 20 year history, the show has boasted a superb entertainment package, loaded with the best performances, food, music, and culture. This year’s Festival runs from July 22-24 at Catherine Hall, St James.
Red Stripe is back as the main sponsor of Reggae Sumfest, after a one-year hiatus. The brand now joins a growing list of sponsors which includes Digicel, Iberostar, JTB, and Wisynco, for the 18th staging of the country’s premier Reggae Festival.