Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
St Ann received an economic boost during the recently concluded 'Emancipendence' Weekend (August 2-5) this year, courtesy of Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum's SPF Weekend.
The four marquée events for the St Ann-located SPF Weekend were the SPF Catamaran Cruise; BNM: Eye Candy; Fiction Beach; and Soirée SPF-04. In addition to these events, the Dunn's River Beach Resort and Spa, hosted a lyme for the series - the SPF Pool Party.
All events were successful and enjoyed sold-out attendance.
Oral Heaven, president of the St Ann Chamber of Commerce, said the citizens of the parish had little to complain about during the SPF season.
"We are fully cognisant of the harsh economic times being experienced today. The people of St Ann, and, in particular, Ocho Rios, welcomed the increase in activities that resulted from the Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum SPF Weekend which have benefited the business community and citizens of the parish."
TOURISM BUSINESS BOOST
As a proven entertainment and tourism stimulant for St Ann, the Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum-sponsored events also gained an endorsement from Vana Taylor, chairperson for the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) Ocho Rios and Runaway Bay Chapter.
Taylor noted, "The JHTA and JAVA support any driver of business to our rooms. We're always looking to work with new events such as the Appleton-sponsored SPF Weekend."
The hotels also benefited from an increase in visitors as a result of the gratifying capabilities of the events on the SPF calendar. Heaven also commented on the hotel sector stating, "Many of the hotels in the area have reported full occupancy for the period while other hotels registered occupancy rates in excess of 70 per cent, which is above the normal occupancy levels at this time of the year."
Cecil Smith, marketing manager, Owned Brands, J. Wray & Nephew Limited, expressed that Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum's sponsorship of SPF Weekend and Zen Tropicale was rewarding.
"We have received extremely positive feedback from party patrons and stakeholders in the parish about the events that were held over the Emancipendence Weekend. Vendors, hoteliers, restaurant operators and other business operators in St Ann, have indicated to us that their operations experienced a boost in business over the weekend as a result of the events that we sponsored from August 2-5 in the parish," he said.