How much is Spring Break worth?

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Kerry Schwartz has the local screen printer printing his custom brand Island Native Surf Shop shirts non-stop.

He plans to have plenty of the shirts ready for Spring Breakers to buy right off the racks.

“We have been doing this for 15 years,” Schwartz said, as he was gearing up for Spring Break.

“I stocked up on everything.”

He said spring breakers like to buy the brands they can’t find back home and take surfing lessons for the experience.

His, like many other stores on the Island, plans to sell clothing, flip flops, sun block and more.

It’s a demographic the Island needs.

The numbers regarding economic impact make that obvious.

City officials and business owners say they are ready for the large wave of spring breakers coming to the Island this month.

“Spring Break is an annual event that not only brings many college students, but it brings many families to South Padre Island,” SPI Mayor Dennis Stahl said. “We offer a lot of different things to do here.”

The economic impact of last year’s Spring Break season was substantial.

Last year, the City of South Padre Island collected more than $1.44 million in hotel occupancy tax, the highest month of March in the past five years.

City sales tax totaled $323,000 in that time period and the mixed beverage tax generated $46,000 for the city.

Officials said using those figures as a base for gross sales calculations in the city for those three categories indicated $16.1 million in gross sales for SPI.

Officials also said the occupancy tax indicated $11.6 million in gross lodging sales and $2.8 million in mixed beverage sales for a total of $30.5 million to the SPI economy.

The month of March is standardly the third highest visitor month, only behind July and June, said Keith Arnold, SPI Convention and Visitors Bureau director.

“Our surveys, done with our hotels and major vacation rental management companies, indicate that we can expect a Spring Break season that is comparable to last year and slightly better,” Arnold said.

He said the City of South Padre Island welcomes the Spring Break collegiate and family visitors and encourages them to take full advantage of all “we have to offer here in attractions, wind and water sports, nature tourism offerings, dining, entertainment and shopping.

“We are appreciative of the economic impact they have on our community, and want each of them to enjoy,” Arnold said.

“Have fun, and, most of all, be safe.”

By the Numbers

Economic impact of Spring Break on City of South Padre Island

March 2017

$323,000 in sales tax

$1.4M – in hotel occupancy tax

$16.1M – in gross sales

$30.5M – to economy

March 2013

$290,000 – in sales tax

$1.12M – in hotel occupancy tax

$14.5M – in gross sales

Source: City of SPI