Welcome: Kenny DeHaun, left, and Nicholas Comegna from California with their Event Passes. The students are among those enjoying their first visit to Bermuda as part of 'Spring Break'. <em>* Photo by Amanda Dale</em>
Welcome: Kenny DeHaun, left, and Nicholas Comegna from California with their Event Passes. The students are among those enjoying their first visit to Bermuda as part of 'Spring Break'. * Photo by Amanda Dale

SATURDAY, February 18: Students from Canada and the US arrived in Bermuda today to enjoy fun in the sun on their Spring Break.

The Bermuda Department of Tourism (BDOT) has organized 'Spring Break 2012' to resurrect the college vacation weeks so popular in days gone by.

It is the first official Bermuda Spring Break in more than 30 years. And Tashae Thompson, BDOT events and product development manager, said it was already proving a success.

“We’ve had quite a lot of positive feedback from the students so far,” she said.

“They’re excited, and the restaurants and bars and our other partners are excited because it’s more business for them in the ‘slow season’.

“So far it’s been a success. The students have just finished their midterms (exams) and so it’s time for them to unwind and have fun. Everyone is here to have a good time.”

Ms Thompson was speaking at the students’ Welcome Swizzle Reception at Coco Reef, where many of them are staying.

The resort has offered room deals for $79, while Grotto Bay is also accommodating the visitors.

This week is the first of three organized by the BDOT to coincide with the official Spring Break weeks in North America. This week is Canadian week, but Ms Thompson said some students from the US are also on vacation and have flown here.

Air carriers such as JetBlue are offering deals on air tickets and Ms Thompson said next year the BDOT may look at marketing inclusive packages including airfares.

One of the big draws for students is the events calendar for the week, which is packed with beach parties, a pool party, a boat cruise, and themed nights out at the island’s nightspots.

Students enrolled at a college or university receive a free Event Pass, which includes admission to events, plus food and drink, and free public transportation.

Any non-students who want to join in the fun can purchase the pass for $100.

It comes with a booklet offering them deals on scooter hire, food and drink specials at bars and restaurants, discounted entrance fees to tourist attractions, and a dolphin swim at Dolphin Quest for just $99.

“We recognize they are college kids and are on a budget, so are trying to make their stay as affordable as possible,” said Ms Thompson.

“It’s a success so far and we anticipate this week we will get just over 200 students.”

Some of the students have arrived with Bermudian friends studying overseas. For every 10 students a Bermudian encourages to come to the island, they receive an iPod, and if they bring 15 they also receive a cash reward.

Ms Thompson said: “Some people are staying with their Bermudian friends which is fine, we just want them all to have a great time as it’s their first time here.”

At Coco Reef, Nicholas Comegna, 24, and Kenny DeHaun, 24, from California, were already enjoying their stay.

Mr Comegna, who is studying business administration at Cal State University, Northridge, said: “The people here are very friendly. It’s an amazing place!”