Sinful decadence. Salacious debauchery. Lewd self-indulgence. Call it what you may, but there's no denying that the 50-plus-year-old North American college tradition known as spring break is undoubtedly the largest party in the world.
Spring Break has an estimated patronage of 1.5 million students flocking to Florida, Texas, Las Vegas, Mexico and Caribbean destinations such as the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas and Jamaica each March.
According to spring break companies STS Travel & Sunsplash Tours, the upcoming staging of the month-and-a-half-long event is set to explode on Jamaica's North Coast.
The companies are reporting a sharp increase in advance bookings for the same period when compared to last year.
In fact, the official spring break Jamaica Twitter page @springbreakja calls Jamaica 'the tropical island paradise of sun, sand, sea, booze and babes'.
"We haven't seen this much buzz for Jamaica in a very long while," said Jake Jacobsen, vice-president of Sales for Maryland-based STS Travel.
"Since spring break in March, we've been getting numerous inquiries about Jamaica, and some persons even booked their 2014 trip the minute they got back to the States. Now, deposits and bookings for September are unbelievable. So while we've been pushing Jamaica on our website a bit harder than our other destinations, we still can't say for sure whether it's as a result of that," he added.
Popular Mexican spring break city Acapulco was recently flooded after back-to-back storms battered the city, leaving a few dead and thousands of tourists stranded. While Acapulco will quickly recover from this natural disaster, the country's self-inflicted disasters caused by its brutal drug cartels, US border wars and a skyrocketing murder rate pose the greatest threat to its status as a top Spring Break destination.
According to Mexico's Tourism Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu, 2012 saw a decline in the country's visitor arrivals and cruise-ship stopovers.
Mexico has also been the subject of numerous travel warnings by US authorities as a no-go zone for tourists and spring breakers.
While many spring breakers still descend upon the isolated Gulf Coast city of Cancún, located on the tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, west of the Caribbean Sea, there are those who heed the warnings and opt for other destinations outside the US.
The warm tropical climate and the 18-and-over legal drinking age is especially attractive to college students. Jamaica's allure, however, is so much more.
Jamaica is ranked by the Travel Channel, collegemagazine.com, and travel.usnews.com as a top spring break destination because of its music, rich culture and Negril's pristine white-sand beaches.
However, local coordinator Romell Newby believes the expected boost in foreign visitors is not enough.
"For 2014, STS Travel has slightly adjusted the itineraries of visitors so as to schedule our major events on the weekends, making spring break more accessible as well as affordable for Jamaicans, primarily college and university students from UWI, UTECH, Edna Manley, UCC, and others. We will be offering special weekend packages for groups of three or more, including event tickets, ground transportation and accommodation for persons from Kingston & St Andrew, Portmore and Spanish Town who wish to attend spring break in Negril," said Newby.
"We will be reintroducing the JamFest concert series last held in 2008 featuring Beenie Man and Shaggy. However, this time, it's gonna be an all-out day-and-night rave with a splendid lightshow like never before seen, a number of local reggae and dancehall acts, and some of the biggest names in electronic dance music. We've got a lot up our sleeves," Newby added.
The trends are promising for hotels and businesses in Negril, especially when the inclusion of locals is considered.
"At the current rate, we expect to see a doubling and tripling of this year's numbers. The key is to now book the major acts, announce our line-up before these other destinations do, and bring back Jamfest," said Jacobsen.
Jamaica currently enjoys less than 0.5 per cent of the global spring break market.