It’s time once again to say goodbye to the madness of August in Ibiza and reflect on the longest month of the season.
September is a busy month in it’s own right with closing parties galore but the difference from August is palpable. For many, September is the best month of the year: the days get shorter, the weather gets cooler and for those living and working on the island the money is in the bank so it’s time to relax and enjoy what’s left of the summer.
For an island that relies exclusively on tourism what is always surprising is how ill equipped Ibiza is for the peak season: the collapse of refuse collection, the traffic, the roads that are a daily deathtrap, impatient taxi drivers that bully anyone that dares to get in their way and lets not even mention the overcrowded beaches and beach clubs….
The internet inquests on the inefficiency of Ibiza have already started and the debate will be vociferous yet in a few weeks it will be confined to memory as the island starts to soothe itself and get back to normal (well as normal as Ibiza can be). The debate always comes to a crescendo when the island is full to capacity which is only for about 10% of the year.
August 2017 may well be remembered as a pivotal time in our Island’s history. The time that our greatest commodity became our greatest enemy. How and why did tourism become such a dirty word?
When the whole system is failing you have to find someone or something to blame so instead of blaming the self interested politicians, the cartels that control the hotels and transport with a mafia like grip and a paper heavy, deeply regulated system that is so antiquated that it takes months or even years to get anything done you turn your attention to those that are easiest to blame. Those that come to the island and spend their hard earned money in search of fun and sunshine.
2 years on from the arrival of the unfair and unjust ecotax the latest ‘initiative’ by the Balearic government in Palma is for a proposed cap on tourism numbers and the forming of designated tourist areas but in the meantime all new licences and applications for legal accommodation has been frozen for 12 months while everything is reviewed. This decision comes after an explosion in booking sites like Airbnb and has been criticised by business leaders and major tour operators.
The Balearic government’s plan to limit the tourist numbers presumably doesn’t involve limiting the number of incoming flights? That would be very difficult under the EU’s freedom of movement law.
The Spanish airports operator AENA figures show that there are more flights than ever coming into the Balearic Islands which means that more beds and services are needed. It’s a simple equation but if the masterplan is just to turn off the supply tap then there can only be conflict and strife ahead as the sums suddenly don’t add up. It’s also easy to assume that more businesses will be driven underground leaving legitimate businesses to prop up the shortfall in taxes.
All in all it’s a bit of a mess with everything put on hold for a year. Who knows what will happen in 2018 with these big changes looming but with elections in 2019 everything could change once again. Oh joy.
All the while, Ibiza will start the recovery process of healing itself. The rubbish will get taken away, the roads will become less hazardous, the beaches will start to have gaps in the sand and in less than 10 weeks the international flights will cease to operate. Too much in the summer, too little in the winter, the Island is always extreme.
Goodbye angry August, hello happy September!