Schoolies pumps $9 million into Northern Rivers economy

AS THE countdown to schoolies celebrations heats up this week, Byron Bay is preparing for an influx of school leavers that is expected to inject $9 million into the region's economy.

Byron Bay is expected to be inundated by 6000 school leavers, the majority due to arrive next weekend for the second week of the annual celebrations. However, police say about 10,000 school leavers came to town for last year's celebration and they're expecting similar numbers this year.

Byron Bay is not the only location school leavers from the North Coast region will be heading to celebrate.

SCHOOLIES

  • 6000 expected to party in Byron Bay over next three weeks
  • Expected to inject $9 million into economy
  • About 600 from Tweed will head to the Gold Coast
  • About 100 from Lismore going to the Gold Coast
  • A total 25,000 schoolies expected on the Gold Coast
  • Each schoolie spends $1500 on average for the week

Organisers of the schoolies celebrations on the Gold Coast, which officially commenced on Friday night, estimate about 100 students from Lismore and about 600 from Tweed will make the journey to the glitter strip to mark the end of their school years.

Booking agency Schoolies.com chief Matt Lloyd said school leavers usually spent about $500 on accommodation and $1000 on entertainment, food etc, meaning each leaver contributed about $1500 to the local economy.

This means about $9 million is expected to be injected into the Byron Bay economy.

Every year school leavers are swamped with safety messages including 'be safe' and 'don't drink too much', but this year organisers are also promoting another message: Do not let a drunken photo on social media ruin your future.

"You can't control where your images may end up," a Gold Coast Schoolies community safety response spokesman said.

He said schoolies were also being told to "respect the community" and "it's okay to walk away from a confrontation".

Meanwhile, research conducted by Drug ARM Australasia has revealed that alcohol remains the drug of choice for most schoolies.

Drug ARM deputy chair Jake Najman said the organisation surveys schoolies on the Gold Coast each year.

Professor Najman said the 2012 survey of 1500 schoolies revealed 75% had been drunk, 41% had suffered a hangover and 26% had vomited. About 20% of those surveyed had passed out and 25% had been injured due to excessive alcohol consumption.