Record Arrivals for Ibiza but Where’s the Money?

As Ibiza Airport figures continue to break records month after month many are scratching their heads when trying to equate the numbers.

In 2016 Ibiza airport saw over 7,000,000 passengers arrive or depart and 2017 is set be even bigger, yet many local businesses are reporting their worst year for a long time, so much so that the local press has been running photos of the Sa Penya district in Ibiza Town without a single person on the streets in the afternoon.

Unfortunately for many of these ‘normal’ family run businesses Ibiza has become a polarising destination with the middle market shoved out to make room for ‘dinky’s’. That’s ‘double income no kids’ for those that don’t read the UK press.

The majority of those that come to the White Isle in 2017 are at different ends of the spending spectrum. Firstly you have the aforementioned dinky or singleton weekend warriors who book a premium room or suite in one of the many recently refurbished hotels then proceed to the usual hangouts such as Blue Marlin, Destino, Ushuaia, Hï, Pacha, Mambo, Ocean Beach, Lio, Nikki Beach etc etc.

These people are the “new Ibiza”: 2,3 or 4 nights of pure indulgence, throwing money around like confetti and posting every step on social media so their friends can be part of their vainglorious binge. They only go to a few places because that’s all they’ve got time for and it’s also what they’ve been programmed to do by the same demographic who recommended Ibiza in the first place.

City boys, career girls, weekend offenders who want to lose themselves in a haze of hedonism that Ibiza has been offering for years however now it comes at a cost. Bigging it up on social media like a gangsta rapper with a magnum of Grey Goose or Champagne ain’t cheap these days.

The other end of this scale are those looking to enjoy ibiza without taking out a 2nd mortgage. The dreaded all inclusive is a good option especially for family holidays who want to know exactly what they are spending but there’s also plenty who want to discover Ibiza but have a tight budget so they buy picnics for the beach in the day and eat at fast food establishments by night. The majority of their holiday spending will go on the entrance to a beach club or that world famous super club that they’ve dreamed of dancing at.

For this market a large baguette for lunch on the beach is 3 euros and a couple of slices of pizza for dinner is 4 euros. A delicious 3 course ‘menu del dia’ with wine can be found for less than a tenner and Lidl do cans of beer for 30 cents each so contrary to popular belief you can do Ibiza on the cheap if you want to.

HOWEVER! Right in between these 2 segments is a big gap that’s getting bigger. This gap used to be filled by those families and groups of friends that didn’t want to large it all the time or live on fast food but wanted to have a nice meal that didn’t cost the earth or browse around the shops and buy some souvenirs to take back to remember the island.

Unfortunately most of the hotels that serviced this middle market are now Beach Clubs with yellow towels or exclusive resorts charging eye-watering prices. It’s a cold hard fact that Ibiza has the most expensive hotels in the whole of Spain, more expensive than either the traditional capitals of Madrid and Barcelona. The transformation has been swift: Club Med is now Palladium Resort, Club Don Toni is Hard Rock Hotel and the Hotel Playa den Bossa is now Ushuaia.

You can’t blame the hoteliers for wanting to cash in, they are reacting to the market and maximising their profit. For decades Ibiza hotels were undervalued, forced over a barrel by unscrupulous tour operators who had a monopoly on arrivals, they were nailed down on price year after year. These same tour operators are the ones who are now decrying ibiza as too expensive and not catering for youngsters.

Those corporate men in suits can say all they want but as the airport figures show Ibiza is at the top of its game and has found a new market that isn’t the traditional bucket and spade 7 or 14 night getaway. Well boohoo Mr Thomas Cook, times change but your business model didn’t so don’t bite the hand that once fed you just because you couldn’t keep up.

Ibiza used to be the place where a prince and a pauper could stand in the same room but times change and in the Ibiza of 2017 they are a million miles apart and the only ones who are cashing in are those businesses who positioned themselves to cater for the 2 distinct markets.

So while some Ibiza businesses have a record year others will scratch their collective heads when they read the front page news about all those arrivals on the White Isle. Where did the people go, where did they spend their money? I think we all know the answer to that.

Ibiza Airport: Records Continue to Tumble

Ibiza tourist figures released this week revealed a few interesting stats for August 2017.

Hotel occupancy for August dropped 6 points to 86.87% (Airbnb? Unlicensed Villas?) yet Ibiza Airport continued to post record figures with 1,409,848 passengers arriving and departing during the island’s busiest month, a 6.7% rise year on year

Ibiza Airport Figures for August 2017

  1. Spanish – 419,549, a fall of 2.6%
  2. British – 400,722, a 6.7% rise and 28.4% of all arrivals breaking the 400K barrier for the first time ever
  3. Italian – 217,822, an increase of 0.7%
  4. German – 116,145 a fall of 5.7%
  5. Dutch – 86,482 an increase of 7.8%
  6. French – 65,074 an increase of +13.1%

Ibiza Airport Records Tumble

2016 Jan-Aug – 5,322,949 passengers
2017 Jan-Aug -5,680,475 passengers
36.4% Spanish an increase of 5.8%
25.7% British an increase of 10.5%

Emerging Markets

The Dutch market continues to boom with 70,000 more passengers so far this year, a massive increase of 22.3% from Jan-Aug while the Italian market has grown 6.1% with 697,627 passengers in the first 8 months of 2017.

Meanwhile German numbers continue to fall with a 4% decrease to 455,614: 20,000 less than 2016. If this trend continues then the Dutch market will overtake the German within the next 2 years

Sixth on the list is the French market which continues to grow although it is still a long way behind the others.  216,730 French passengers passed through the airport in the first 8 months of 2017, 11.2% more than in the same period of the previous year.  The best of the rest are much further behind: Switzerland, with just over 120,000 travellers in the first 8 months of 2017, while Belgium is approaching 100,000.

Russians and Americans

The much lauded Russian and North American markets only accounted for 2391 and 278 passengers respectively in August 2017 although many come via connecting flights from Madrid and Barcelona so will be included in the Spanish figures.

Source: Diario de Ibiza

San Antonio Town Hall Shenanigans

Strange things are happening in San Antonio Town hall. Last week saw town planning councillor Juan Jose Ferrer resign after he was undermined and overruled by the deputy mayor making his position untenable.

Spanish local council elections work on proportional representation where political parties produce a list of candidates so after all votes are counted and divided by the number of seats available giving the number of votes required to obtain 1 seat. So for example: If the equation is that you need 400 votes to secure one seat then if your party gets 2000 votes then you get 5 seats.

All very straightforward you would think although many who appear on the candidates list have no intention of ever serving in a government for a myriad of reasons. Maybe they are a doctor or a teacher or a physio and don’t want to give up their profession and sit in a council office for 5 days a week getting ridiculed on social media. They are there only to give their support for the team they represent, cheerleaders if you will.

To refresh your memories, in the 2015 election no party won an outright majority of 11 seats in a 21 seat council. The results were as follows.

So the 3 smaller parties who won 13 seats between them joined forces in a coalition to form a government, very similar to what happened in the 2010 UK election where Conservative and Liberal got into bed together even though they had vastly different agendas.

Within a few days of the new governing forming the number 2 on the PSOE list, the charismatic Marco Guerrero, had been headhunted by the newly elected Balearic Government. Marco was one of the main reasons why many voted for PSOE in San Antonio but within days he was gone and replaced by Lorenzo Bustamente who’s like a wet weekend in Skegness by comparison.

Now back to Sr Ferrer. His little row with Deputy Mayor Pablo Valdes meant that he spat out his dummy and legged it so there’s now an empty place at the council top table. In accordance with protocol the position was offered to number 4 on the list, Paquito Fernandez, a popular local physiotherapist who didn’t fancy the job. Number 5 wasn’t interested either nor was number 6 so number 7 the polarising ex councillor and souvenir shop owner, Joan Torres has graciously accepted the place on the government team.

So what does all this mean? Probably nothing to most of you who couldn’t give a monkeys toss about small minded politics in Ibiza however these are the people deciding on the future of one of the most famous towns in tourism and they weren’t even the ones who were elected in the first place.

So next time your’e in San Antonio and you haven’t got a terrace to sit down on at 12.01am or you get harassed by a street seller or your pocket gets pinched at the bottom of the west end or you can’t get your rubbish in the skip because it’s overflowing then remember these people.

Some of them are there by default and are making decisions that affect residents and tourists on a daily basis. It’s called democracy but many in San Antonio are scratching their heads and wondering what crisis is coming next from the coalition council.



Life in IBIZA is never dull: at times amazing, at other times truly exasperating. They say that life is a journey so to celebrate my 200th BLOG and 26 years living and working on the island here are 200 REASONS that make Ibiza unique and one of the most talked about and special places in the world. Excuse the over indulgence and in no specific order:

  1. Getting giddy on a full bottle of HIERBAS left on the table
  2. Walking through the ALMOND BLOSSOM  in Santa Ines in January
  3. Forcing down FLAO at the end of a typical meal
  4. Eating BUÑOLES after the flao even though you’re full
  5. Drinking FRIGOLA for medicinal purposes only
  6. Seeing those humongous SUPER YACHTS in August
  7. Spotting famous international footballers at CALA BASSA beach
  8. Marvelling at SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH
  9. Spotting elegant FLAMINGOES at Las Salinas SALT FLATS
  10. Haggling at ES CANA HIPPY MARKET (and getting nowhere)
  11. Drinking anything alcoholic in a local bar with OLD PAYESES
  12. Snorkelling at ATLANTIS
  13. Listening to sunset tunes at CAFE DEL MAR
  14. Walking down CALLE DE LA VIRGEN in the height of summer
  15. Drinking a fruity GnT at CAFE MAMBO/MINT LOUNGE
  16. Jumping off the rocks at CALA SALADA
  17. Eating tortilla at CAN COSMI, Santa Ines
  18. Walking up to ES BROLL waterfall
  19. Burning your mouth on a delicious plate of ARROZ DE MATANZA
  20. Driving on EMPTY ROADS in January
  21. Being stuffed after eating a large plate SOFRIT PAGES
  22. Swimming at ES VEDRA
  23. Scratching your head at the latest POLITICAL nonsense
  24. Listening to drums at BENIRRAS and feeling good to be alive
  25. Wandering down the restaurant street in SANTA EUALIA
  26. Whizzing down the Foam at AGUAMAR
  27. Drinking champagne at OCEAN BEACH
  28. Enjoying a boozy night out with friends in the WEST END
  29. Seeing a TRANSVESTITE in Ibiza Town for the 1st time
  30. Meeting OLD FRIENDS and realising that you’re still the same (just a few more wrinkles)
  31. Watching a SEPTUAGENARIAN dancing at a super club
  32. Drinking rum and coke in the sunshine on SPACE TERRACE
  33. Ignoring a FAMOUS DJ at the airport
  34. Walking along the sand and looking at the ‘sights’ ES CAVALLET BEACH
  35. Ignoring a BEACH SELLER who just woke you up.
  36. Watching the sun set over CONILLERA
  37. Drinking a mojito on the boat served by MOJITOMAN
  38. Eating a juicy steak at CAN PILOT, San Rafael
  39. Taking friends to SA CAPELLA for the first time
  40. Trying not to be excessive in the SUMMER and failing miserably
  41. Taking GO-PRO photos purely to p**s off your mates
  42. Wandering around looking at the BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE
  43. Checking-in to a beach club on FACEBOOK when it’s raining back ‘home’
  44. Waving goodbye to PRINCE ABDUL AZZIZ
  45. Sipping overpriced drinks at BLUE MARLIN and loving every second of it
  46. Playing for IBIZA CRICKET CLUB in the October sunshine
  47. Having 1 more when you you’ve got the SCHOOL RUN in 4 hours
  48. Being amazed at how amazing ES PARADIS is
  49. Sitting on a bench and people watching in VARA DE REY, Ibiza Town
  50. Dancing in PACHA VIP and seeing an A-lister on the next table
  51. Buying a pair of sh*t sunglasses from a LOOKY LOOKY and instantly regretting it
  52. Eating TRADITIONAL FOOD in a neighbours garage on a wet winter Sunday
  53. Having a stand up row with a TAXI driver
  54. Drinking shots with Julian at 3am in SOUL CITY
  55. Walking on the white sand at CALA CONTA beach
  56. Eating Nasi Goreng with a hangover at RITA’S CANTINA
  57. Going to BENIMUSSA PARK (home of the Zoo Project), Ibiza’s most original venue
  58. Eating tapas served with a scowl at RINCON DE PEPE
  59. Smelling fresh oven bakes at CROISSANT SHOW
  60. Drinking VINO PAYES in the winter and waking up with a very thick head
  61. Watching the DANCING FOUNTAINS in San Antonio
  62. Driving to PORTINATX, revelling in its beauty then not going back for 10 years
  63. Having tapas at BAR COSTA in the square at SANTA GERTRUDIS
  64. Watching IBIZA RUGBY CLUB at Can Misses and wincing at the tackles
  65. Cycling to CAN TIXEDO in BUSCATELL for a healthy vegan lunch
  66. Walking the dog from LAS SALINAS to the watch tower at the most southerly part of the island.
  67. Taking the fast ferry to FORMENTERA in the spring/autumn
  68. Abusing Andy’s famous hospitality at PLASTIK
  69. Drinking and eating with the FRIDAY LADS in winter and only spending 10 euros
  70. Putting the BOAT back in the water in May
  71. Buying a drink at a SUPER CLUB and saying “sorry, how much did you say?”
  72. Struggling to pay the bills in FEBRUARY then having a walk in the sunshine and realising it’s all worth it
  73. Watching SAN ANTONIO UNDER 10’s and realising that England will never win another world cup
  74. Having 40 minutes of pure exhilaration on TWISTER/JET360
  75. Listening to your children SPEAK FLUENT SPANISH to their friends
  76. Having LONG WINTER LUNCHES that go on for hours
  77. Walking round the ghost town that is PLAYA D’EN BOSSA in winter
  78. Going to USHUAIA for the 1st time, world class
  79. Making excuses to go to Ibiza Rocks because you’re a secret CRAIG DAVID fan
  80. Flying on the first international RYANAIR flight of the summer
  81. Flying on last international RYANAIR flight of the summer
  82. Walking the dog from CALA CONTA to the watch tower and not seeing another soul
  83. Picking up friends at the AIRPORT and having to drive round the block 3 times
  84. Bumping into the ‘old’ THOMSON AIRPORT GIRLS, and catching up with the gossip
  85. Cycling from LA SAVINA to San Francisco in the Spring
  86. Reading IBIZA WINTER RESIDENTS on Facebook, Ibiza is full of the weird and wonderful
  87. Getting irate when your VISITING FRIENDS eat you out of house and home
  88. Eating lobster paella washed down with cava sangria at CALA BASSA BEACH CLUB
  89. Watching LIVE MUSIC in a local bar drinking a €1.20 caña
  90. Going to LIO every 2 years then showing everyone the bill
  91. Eating a FISH GRILL on wooden chairs listening to waves at CAN PUJOL
  92. Meeting friends for weekend bruch at the MONTESOL
  93. Browsing the XMAS MARKET in Vara de Rey, Ibiza Town
  94. Being able to PARK your car in the winter
  95. Getting that first SUNBURN of the year because you’re out of practice
  96. Attempting to SPEAK IBICENCO after a few too many
  97. Lamenting the GOATS every time you pass Es Vedra
  98. Enjoying a peaceful lunch in the square at SAN FRANCISCO, Formentera
  99. Walking to PUNTA GALERA with the dog so you can both have a swim
  100. Spotting magnificent DOLPHINS in Ibiza waters
  101. Enjoying CARNIVAL time when the whole island comes out to play
  102. Taking your kids on the MINI TRAIN
  103. Snorkelling and looking for octopus at CALA GRACIONETA
  104. Drinking CAFE CALETA whilst gazing at Es Vedra at ES BOLDADO
  105. Playing GOLF in the twilight at ROCA LLISA
  106. Going out for a QUICK DRINK and getting back at 7am
  107. Putting your FEET UP with a GnT at sunset
  108. Dressing up for the best HALLOWEEN parties in the world knowing it’s a bank holiday in the morning
  109. Eating a delicious 3 course MENU DEL DIA for less than a tenner
  110. Perusing the flea market behind the church in SAN FRANCISCO, Formentera
  111. Walking up to the cathedral at D’ALT VILA on a sunny winters day
  112. Having Sunday lunch at PIKES then it all going wrong
  113. Loving the 1st of SEPTEMBER
  114. Watching the CHRISTMAS TREE lights being switched on
  115. Eating GRAPES on the chimes on New Years Eve
  116. Walking from Cafe Sydney to the lighthouse at MARINA BOTAFOCH
  117. Picking the bones out of a delicious BULLIT DE PEIX at Cala Mastella
  118. Savouring a glass of LOCAL VINO and a slice of bread and SOBRASADA for 2 euros
  119. Cycling with a thousand others in the PORQUET charity ride in March
  120. Enjoying 14 BANK HOLIDAYS every year
  121. Being SURPRISED/AMAZED/INFURIATED with the island on a daily basis
  122. Passing the WALK OF SHAMERS in San Antonio on the school run
  123. Watching English movies at CINE REGIO, San Antonio
  124. Having a cool dip in the crystal clear MEDITERRANEAN SEA
  125. Trying to stay awake to see the SUNRISE at BORA BORA
  126. WATERSKIING on a flat sea on a fresh December morning
  127. Taking a long SIESTA, it’s tradition after all
  128. Touring the CAN RICH vineyard on the outskirts of San Antonio
  129. Going bananas on the BANANA, Cala Bassa
  130. Drinking Bloody Mary’s at COTTON CLUB, Cala Tarida
  131. Being invited to a ‘DRINK ON THE HOUSE’ after a good meal (see point 1)
  132. Indulging in a spa day at ATZARO or HACIENDA NA XAMENA
  133. Buying a fresh T-bone steak directly from CARNES MARCH in San Lorenzo
  134. Risking your life on the GO-KARTS
  135. Savouring a scrumptious Sunday lunch at RELISH
  136. Trying to remember those lost nights at the MANUMISSION MOTEL
  137. Trying to remember those lost days at the CLOCKWORK ORANGE villa
  138. Watching JASON BYE play the classics at MAMBO
  139. Dancing to 80’s music at CHILDREN OF THE 80’S at the HARD ROCK HOTEL
  140. Having a kids party on the BEACH in winter
  141. Eating spicy food at CASA THAI San Antonio
  142. Getting drenched in the GOTA FRIA rainstorms in September/October
  143. Picking up sweets at the KINGS DAY procession in Ibiza town
  144. Buying TRADITIONAL TILES from the family run outlets on the Santa Eulalia road
  145. Listening to DOGS barking at all hours in the campo
  146. Watching Jim make an incredible GnT at PARADISE LOST BAR in D’alt Vila
  147. Begging your FRIENDS to come over in the winter…then they come in August
  148. Eating too many of Cati’s tasty tapas at BAR VEDRANE
  149. Seeing those gigantic BILLBOARDS with the worlds best clubs and DJ’s
  150. Watching BARÇA v REAL MADRID in a local bar
  151. Having a long lunch at TROPICANA on CALA JONDAL beach
  152. Spraining your neck on the BUMPER CARS after plenty of mojitos
  153. Finding out that 2 of your good ibicenco friends are actually SIBLINGS
  154. Having a selfie with WAYNE LINEKER – the self proclaimed king of selfies
  155. Going to a GYPSY WEDDING and having your shirt ripped off
  156. Knowing lots of people who have won the LOTTERY
  157. Being frustrated that the island closes down for 5 days over EASTER
  158. Immersing yourself in LAS DALIAS Market in SAN CARLOS
  159. Berating MALLORCA at every given opportunity
  160. Watching the hooded religious gathering on GOOD FRIDAY at D’alt Vila
  161. Looking for a 2nd hand bargain at The HIPPODROME at SANT JORDI
  162. Losing your temper in AUGUST on an hourly basis
  163. Pausing at the 1972 air crash monument whilst climbing SA TALAIA
  164. Listening to Ibiza SONICA on your car radio
  165. Being referred to as a GUIRI by the locals
  166. Spotting Z-LISTERS hustling for drinks at a beach club
  167. Friends NOT telling you the details about their NEW BUSINESS because it’s all ‘hush-hush’
  168. Eating your own body weight in meat at CA’S PAGÈS San Carlos
  169. Doing the Conga around BESO BEACH after a long boozy lunch
  170. Being full of optimism in APRIL
  171. Being totally knackered in OCTOBER
  172. Eating delicious HOMEMADE ICE CREAM on a warm summers night
  173. Stumbling across some of the most beautiful CHURCHES in the world
  174. Having a picnic at ES PORTIXOL, probably the most secluded bay in Ibiza
  175. Fishing for ‘RAONES’ on 1 September
  176. The kids going back to school in September after 80 DAYS off for summer
  177. Reading the TABLOIDS ‘reporting’ on Ibiza knowing that most of it is rubbish
  178. Sitting next to the statue of ISIDORO MACABICH in the old town, peaceful
  179. Queueing up with all your PAPERWORK knowing that you’ve forgotten something
  180. Eating the freshest fish at the FISH SHACK in Talamanca
  181. Walking from SIESTA, over the bridge and into SANTA EULALIA
  182. Watching a chukka at Ibiza Polo Club in SAN LORENZO
  183. Dancing under the stars at PRIVILEGE, the biggest club in the world
  184. Singing KARAOKE with Sunny in a bathtub full of balls at Pikes
  185. Listening to some of the best rock bands in the world at IBIZA ROCKS
  186. Eating delicious food in the garden at ‘TAPAS’ in San Antonio
  187. Remembering all the GOOD FRIENDS from the island that you’ve lost along the way
  188. Having a drink poolside at ES VIVE whilst getting nostalgic with Jason
  189. Listening to all different languages in IBIZA TOWN, a truly international destination
  190. Dropping anchor in the clearest water your will ever see at ES PALMADOR
  191. Throwing bread to the DUCKS on the river in Santa Eulalia
  192. Having an expensive lunch at JUAN Y ANDREA and remembering when it used to be a shack on the beach
  193. Chatting about San Antonio with the owner JAVIER ANADON Mambo  whilst the worlds best DJ’s play in the background
  194. Browsing round the unique shops in IBIZA TOWN
  195. Eating a delicious PIZZA at Davids, Mint or Es Verge
  196. Dressing up for San Antonio’s massive FLOWER POWER PARTY in January, the town’s biggest party of the year
  197. Discovering the Caves at PORT SAN MIGUEL
  198. Waiting for hours to get your car inspected at the ITV garage
  199. Witnessing first hand the ISLAND constantly evolve and change
  200. Constantly talking about ‘BACK IN THE DAY‘ with a knowing smile on your face

With special thanks to everyone mentioned in the list and many more who weren’t. Please let me know your special reasons or if you think I have missed anything.


Ibiza Drug Fatalities Study

Ibiza and drugs is inextricably linked from the hedonism of the late 60’s and 70’s to the Ecstasy rave generation and acid house of the 80’s and 90’s through to the designer drugs of today but the other side of the smiley face culture has been revealed in a new study charting the recent drug-related fatalities on the White Isle.

From 2010 to 2016 there were 58 recorded deaths due to drugs. Of these 36% were British, 22.4% were Spanish, 6.9% were Italian and 5.2% were German.

The research, prepared by London based Italian psychiatrist Rita Santacroce (@ritasan82) was presented last April at a congress in Florence and offers an analysis of the deceased, either directly or indirectly, by the consumption of narcotic drugs.

The study also revealed that at 87.9% men are by far the main victims as a result of illegal substance use while only 12.1% were women.

The research also highlighted that the average age of the deceased was 33 years although women were generally younger than men.

The study also describes the type of drugs taken by these 58 fatalities: 31% had used MDMA and 26% had cocaine.

Source: Diario de Ibiza