ALL INCLUSIVE: Here to Stay?

All inclusive: Never have 2 words caused so much consternation in the main tourist resorts of the Mediterranean. Ibiza, Tenerife, Mallorca, Benidorm, Costa Brava: All the big players are ‘suffering’. Some long established resorts have now become partial ghost towns as the once thriving areas have been deserted by tourists preferring to stay in their hotel drinking and eating for ‘free’.

As much as we all denounce the product the ‘problem’ is that the market decides and the families and groups have decided that they want to know exactly what they are paying for and they want their kids to be able to have snacks and ice creams at any time of the day without constantly having to put their hands in their pockets.

You won’t hear too many ‘expensive Ibiza’ quotes around some all inclusive hotels as Mum and Dad relax in a nice environment safe in the knowledge that 80% of their budget has been taken care of. Their is still business to be had as the the other 20% will be spent on boat trips, days out, car hire and beach activities.

The challenge for the Med resorts is to get their product and location right as All Inclusive isn’t just a flash in the pan and if Ibiza doesn’t offer it, somewhere else most certainly will. The new Sensatori resort in Cala Tarida is getting rave reviews as they follow the tried and tested long-haul model of beach location, outstanding entertainment, a wide choice of food and superb facilities especially for families. A great example of giving the public what they want but with a family of 4 costing over £5000 for a week in August it comes at a premium. The Seaview country club is also an Ibiza all inclusive staple offering family fun on the beach and recently added it’s own water park meaning lots of added value for Mum and Dad. These products aren’t cheap but as with most things in life; You get what you pay for.

Unfortunately these 2 resorts hotels are the exception rather than the rule on the White Isle with many others offering a lesser product in a lesser location for a lot less money whilst treating their clients with territorial passive aggression. They have the money up front so abuse that privilege by ‘giving away’ poor quality food and drink – what do Brits know about food anyway? If you do the maths then it’s a straight forward equation: Cheap all inclusive deals equals cheap food/beverage equals cheap tourism. This mindset is a lose/lose for the island as the ‘Trip Advisor’ reviews will reliably inform you.

Whether we like it or not ‘All Inclusive’ is now flourishing all over the world (especially in emerging resorts) and is definitely here to stay. My recent blogs have touched on ‘VIP’ and seasonal workers which arguably represent the higher and lower end of the market but if Ibiza wants to continue to attract the important middle market then it’s Ibiza that is going to have to change not the all inclusive model.

Author: Martin Makepeace

Englishman living and working in Ibiza since 1991. Entrepreneur with a passion for villas, boats, sunsets and San Antonio. Read my blogs, listen to my podcasts and catch me on Radio One Mallorca every Tuesday morning.

8 thoughts on “ALL INCLUSIVE: Here to Stay?”

  1. It’s a difficult one. My sister is in Sicily with club Med at the moment with her 2 kids. 2 weeks £6,500 and I know she would not leave the resort in that time. That would drive me mad as I like to be out and about eating in different restaurants and seeing the place I am visiting rather than the same hotel food and entertainment everyday but each to their own.

    I think as you say, the mid range is the problem where people only have a certain budget and have no interest in culture or seeing the rest of the Island. They have paid their money and will make sure they get their monies worth by taking every “free” option possible. That mid range needs to improve in quality, but that will not help the rest of the Island businesses as these people will not leave the resort. That is the idea afterall.

    I am surprised in a way the high end AL works in Ibiza because there are great places to eat and drink all over the island if you have money, but maybe if you have young children then it suits your situation. These people are more likely to leave the AL and book boat trips etc.

    It’s difficult because you don’t want the island to turn into Cuba with only AL everywhere.


    1. It’s a shame that all inclusive hotels haven’t evolved into sustainable tourism in that they utilise the local establishments as part of the all inclusive… It would open a whole new experience if the guest could use an AL token/voucher in the local restaurants (up to the value of etc) and I’m sure there are enough masterminds to figure out the costings and still keep everything viable.
      All inclusive is an affordable family concept that is here to stay but if it evolved it would be even better……


  2. I don’t blame anybody with kids going AI , I have been on many AI holidays and I have stil eaten out in restaurants and had nights out in the resort. It’s great for daytime drinks and food round the pool. Ibiza is very expensive for drinks so I for one would welcome more choice for AI in Ibiza . On checking holiday prices this year , Ibiza is the most expensive to travel to and to stay which is why I’ll be giving it a miss and holidaying elsewhere. Way overpriced and pretentious now.


  3. Yes such a shame that an important part of the market is being lost? Some want to go all inclusive but so many do not! Let’s keep the standard of bars and restaurants high so that people can eat out if they wish. . Like Relish and Tapas !


  4. i’ve done AI in the maldives twice – its hard to argue against it – and obviously there, there is no other option obviously but at the end of the day if that’s what the “customer” wants then that’s what they will go for


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