Since 2001, Absolute Entertainment has been responsible for drawing thousands of Jamaicans to Negril for a weekend of partying. The event has since grown tremendously and now Appleton Temptation Isle (ATI) is the largest event of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean. It is also a significant contributor to the Negril economy and tourism scene. This year, ATI takes place from August 5-9.
"ATI is more than just a weekend of parties. We provide a bump in economic activity during what is usually a low season for tourism-based towns," said Alex Chin, head of Absolute Entertainment.
Andrew Pryce, marketing manager for Appleton Jamaica, said that last year "every last person benefited from the weekend", and he added that representations should be made to relevant authorities to zone Negril, so that events would be able to continue past 2 a.m.
"When you look at the benefits," Pryce argued, "to the taxi man, the pan chicken man, the hotels, the owners of the venues, the bus companies, the security companies, I think there are so many economic benefits for the community that special consideration should be provided for our events."
There are no rooms in Negril right now and that wasn't the case when we started. ATI brings big business to Negril," Chin commented, before adding that "The event is expensive. Last year, it cost us $40-$50 million to stage the event, but the benefits for the business around us make that cost look minimal."
Carlene Turner-Gayle, sales and marketing manager at the Coco La Palm in Negril, agreed with Chin.
"ATI is a great feature for Negril, Jamaica and for Coco La Palm at large," she stated. "We have good room revenues at this time. However, I would say that there could be better revenue gained in the restaurant area, but all in all, it's very good for the area and good for Coco La Palm," Turner-Gayle said.
She is just one of the many small hoteliers that cash in during the Independence weekend, and Marie Walters from Cotton Tree Hotel says that after ATI there is a lull in bookings. Walters, who is the general manager for the hotel, says the ATI weekend is an interesting time for Negril.
"Each and every year we have ATI and it is very interesting. We have a lot of people that stay here and we just hope that it will get better and better. We do get an increase in hotel returns because at this time of year we always have a full house, but after that things get very slow."
Luca Giannone, who owns Sunrise Club Hotel, believes that there should be an ATI in May and October. "It's very nice to see Negril live and in action and that's why I believe that there should be an ATI weekend, for example, in May and October, which are two months that are very quiet in the hotel industry," Giannone commented, adding that the weekend provides a bump in business that they look forward to.
"ATI is good, very good, and through the years it has been growing and everybody in Jamaica seems to look forward to it, and I believe that we should have more ATIs throughout the year to try bring people from all over the island together to party like they do at the beginning of August."
SOURCE: The Sunday Gleaner
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