Spring Break-Up Benefits South Padre Island

spring break
"We're breaking up with spring break" promotional video | Image by Miami Beach

Spring Break is big business for South Padre Island in Texas, and a recent campaign by Miami, Florida, to turn away partiers could lead to even more profits for local businesses.

Recently-elected Miami Mayor Steven Meiner campaigned on a promise to clean up Spring Break partying in the popular destination. A new advertising campaign has been telling party-goers that Miami does not want them. A social media public service announcement released earlier this week explained that Miami Beach was “breaking up with Spring Break.”

“It’s not us, it’s you,” an actor on the one-minute video says. Another states, “You just want to get drunk in public and ignore laws. … Maybe we can talk when you’re done with your Spring Break phase, but until then…” and then text flashes on the screen saying, “We’re breaking up with Spring Break.”

Miami Beach will be deploying hundreds of police officers, has instituted a curfew, and is promising $100 parking to discourage visitors.

In contrast, South Padre Island spent $400,000 on advertising to draw college students to the beach destination, as reported by The Dallas Morning News. While officials intend to have a strong police presence and will be cracking down on crime, they also understand the value of drawing the millions of college students to the location.

“We know we’re going to be busy during Texas week. I think everybody on the island knows they’re going to be busy during Texas week,” Rene Valdez, Holiday Inn Resort general manager, told KRGV. “We’re actually seeing people traveling from other areas that we weren’t used to, like we’ve got people here now from the East Coast, believe it or not, that are kind of a surprise from the area they came from.”

The small island on the southern tip of Texas has a year-round population of about 5,000 but swells to 80,000 or more during Texas Week, which will run from about March 5 to March 25 this year due to the differences in the timing of spring break schedules between colleges.

“I know it’s a pain … with the loud music and traffic and the drunk people, but our residents grit their teeth and bear through it for the month because they recognize the economic impact,” said Blake Henry, executive director for the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Law enforcement has warned visitors and residents to buckle up, obey laws, and not drink and drive. Various organizations are expected to provide free breakfast, safe rides, and other services to help reduce some of the most common problems that come from the wild week of partying.

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