POSTED: Thursday, March 10, 2011 - 4:56pm
UPDATED: Friday, March 11, 2011 - 9:16am
College kids are pouring onto the island looking to soak up a little sun and kick back.
While the beach is the main hot spot, these college co-eds will also shell out big bucks around the island.
According to the SPI Convention and Visitors Bureau, advanced bookings for hotels are way up for the 2011 spring break season, an indicator that this year’s spring break is shaping up to be one of the best the island has seen in a very long time.
"We're ending kind of a quiet winter in terms of business and they really need a boost, not just hotels but all the businesses." says Dan Quandt, Executive Director for the SPI Convention and Visitors Bureau.
And they will, when not on the beach, Quandt says these spring breakers will flock to the stores to do some shopping, dish out the cash for water sports like jet skiing and parasailing or get their kicks off of flying sky high on the bungee attractions, and when it's time to refuel, they'll head to the bars and restarants.
Some students even like to take a part of the spring break experience with them, but not necessarily in the form of pictures. Another industry that sees a big boost during March really leaves a permanent impression on these young adults, literally.
The tattoo artists at Studio 54 Tattoo and Piercing say their business increases by about 80% during spring break.
So why the boost in number of visitors? For one, a more aggressive push to promote the island. The SPI marketing department bought ad space on Facebook and purchased commercial time at movie theaters to reach out to their target population, among other things.
The second reason....
"We have an improving economy, things aren't as bad around the nation as they were in the last couple of years." says Quandt.
More money freely flowing, means a boost in sales for the businesses that line Padre Boulevard.
Another reason for the plethora of partiers on the island, violence across the border.
Quandt says that the danger over in Mexico is directing more spring breakers to the island. These students can still get the clean beaches, warm sunny skies, minus the drug cartel violence.
"In 2000 we did a study and three out of four students who came to South Padre Island for spring break went to Mexico, now no one goes." said Quandt.
Instead, he says they spend their entire vacation strictly on the island and so does their cash.
By the time the spring break 2011 comes to an end in March, the tiny town of roughly five thousand residents will have entertained nearly 40-thousand visitors.