The New Ibiza: Don’t Mention the ‘T-Word’

Peak season in Ibiza is always testing. Traffic is backed up and every bar, restaurant and corner of the island is full. For those living and working on the White Isle it’s a tough time of the summer but even though the island relies exclusively on tourism it’s become fashionable to bite the hand that feeds.

As other destinations such as Barcelona and Mallorca have also found out, there’s now a residents backlash against the very commodity that has made them rich beyond its wildest dreams.

The keyboard warriors, for so long a lone, bitter voice in some faraway local bar are becoming more and more venomous in their denoucements of the travellers who fill the islands pockets. Many locals can’t even be bothered to form a counter argument because they will be shot down by those fanning the anti-tourist flames.

Here’s the key question: Which industry in Ibiza doesn’t rely on tourism? All roads lead back to the T-Word so let’s put the 3 main cyber-bully myths to bed.


Better is what exactly? Wealthier? Families? Calmer? As anyone who has worked in the VIP section of a club will tell you, wealth doesn’t necessarily bring class, so a wealthier clientele doesn’t guarantee anything (apart from more complaints) and have you seen the hotels in San An? As for families, they only come over for 10 weeks a year so what about the other 4 months? Calmer: Have you been to Lanzarote?


Yes they should but when youngsters barely out of school are encouraged to drink by airports and airlines then left to their own devices on arrival with little to zero police presence you can’t blame them for pushing the boundaries more than they should. No control equals exactly that and leads to no respect. Other tourist destinations enforce laws which would be a novelty to some parts of the island where town halls are more focussed on fining local businesses than law and order on the streets. A young shirtless British tourist isn’t the symbol of everything that is wrong with the island (it’s nearly 40 degrees after all) and we should be thankful that Ibiza still manages to attract mass tourism. By the way have you seen the rowdy young Spanish locals on Saturday nights drinking and littering the town’s car parks. Not every problem lies at the door of the tourist.


It’s a free county and freedom of movement is one of the key principals of the European Union. The amount of private properties available for rental (illegal or not) has driven demand for the low cost airlines to put on more capacity plus the island council aren’t going to limit numbers as this goes against the very ethos of tourism and let’s face facts: The peak season only lasts for 4 weeks (21 Jul-18 Aug) then it’s back to relative normality, whatever that may be.

So, although it can be difficult at times, let’s try and be more tolerant to our visitors even if they don’t always appear to deserve it. Give them the benefit of the doubt, they might surprise you plus they are spending their hard earned cash on an island we are lucky enough to call home.

Tourists and tourism aren’t dirty words and next time you feel yourself scowling at a tourist who had the audacity to choose Ibiza as his or her summer destination try and turn it into a smile. It’s the islands privilege to welcome them and as other destinations have found to their cost, there is no guarantee that they will always be there.

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.

12 thoughts on “The New Ibiza: Don’t Mention the ‘T-Word’”

  1. Well, it is obvious that there are some discussions about tourism this year. But I don’t agree with the conclusion of the article at all. I think Ibiza is on a good track to get “better” tourists. New hotels, modern marketing will attract people with style, manners and money.


  2. Well argued Martin.

    Where I struggle – not with you, but the politicos, at all levels, is to see a business plan or long term strategy. Every decision taken by them seems to me to be a reaction, where the outcome is to ban, prohibit, limit or otherwise forbid something or other.

    I fear a total lack of clear thinking and long term vision. Surely it can’t ALL be put down to greed, graft or self interest.


  3. I first went to Ibiza 10 years ago and then last year as well as this year. It is clear to me that these attempts to target “classy” tourists is backfiring hugely. The island was a fantastic mix of different people when I first went with a lot less exclusivity and stuffiness as there is now. It’s a real shame to see how the dynamic has changed – now everywhere just feels like a VIP area. What’s more, “classy” tourists are a fickle bunch and once they decide it’s not the place to be seen anymore, they’ll stop going. Still a fantastic place but oh what a shame to see how it’s being saturated by the VIP brigade.


  4. We can’t all be bad. You are right, we come and we do spend our hard-earned money on the island but we are quiet, respectful, appreciative and take nothing for granted. Not all Brits are ill-mannered and as for being a better class – we work very hard for minimum wage, will that ‘class’ us out of future Ibiza holidays? It is getting harder and harder to find a holiday in Ibiza that we can afford – in May we skipped a few meals during our week in order to save money. Does that make us poor tourists?! I may be rambling but I feel very strongly about being classed as an unpleasant blight to Ibiza when even our small contribution must mean something to somebody.


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