Ibiza Focussing on Sport, Culture and Wellness at WTM London

It’s that time of the year again when all the major players in the travel industry congregate in London for the World Travel Market (WTM), one of the 3 major European travel fairs alongside Madrid and Berlin.  This is where all the main people can be found under one roof room, meetings are arranged, business cards are exchanged and deals are agreed.

The main focus in London is naturally on the British market which is Ibiza’s 2nd largest in terms of incoming tourists but the mood this year won’t as upbeat as usual due to the increasing doubts over what Brexit will actually mean to the Spanish tourist industry.

Historically the WTM is all about pushing low season activities such as gastronomy, culture, sport and wellness and all these are being heavily promoted this year in London. Ibiza is now a main hub and market leader for ‘wellness’ with over 20 spas on the island, 23 ‘agrotourism’* hotels and dozens of yoga schools and retreats.  ‘Boot Camps’ such as No1 Boot Camp where people are put through their paces in a military fashion for a few days are also growing in size and demand.

The peculiar thing is that Ibiza’s world famous Super Clubs AREN’T promoted in London which is like Las Vegas not promoting casinos but it’s always been this way.  The Island’s tourist department has a very small budget in comparison to the clubs so leave them to promote themselves globally and choose instead to focus on ways to attract people to the island during winter and the the low season months, namely April, May and October.

Ibiza now enjoys more connections than ever before with Ryanair operating international flights from late March until the end of October not forgetting British Airways who operate flights from London all year round almost on a daily basis. Low season fares are usually very reasonable so the focus is on the products that hook the people to come over when the island isn’t bursting at its seams.

This year the Ibiza stand is independent from the Balearic Islands main area which shows a growing confidence and although the WTM is viewed by many as a big jolly up for the politicians (which it is) the exposure that Ibiza gets on a world business level at the WTM is important and has been increasing over the years building on the brand and trying to convince everyone that the White Isle is not all about the clubs (which it isn’t).

*Agrotourism hotels are rural retreats (usually converted from large old houses) that offer boutique style rooms for nightly rental

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.

2 thoughts on “Ibiza Focussing on Sport, Culture and Wellness at WTM London”

  1. Ibiza is as strong as its weakest links. With mild & sunny winters coupled with short flights from most northern European cities, it would be an ideal destination for the conference & exhibition industry, golf breaks, sales conferences, etc, except it continues to shoot itself in the foot. Compared with it’s Mediterranean competitors, it lacks the infrastructure to offer a viable alternative.

    Too many services are unavailable during the winter, hotel rooms, restaurants, leisure activities, etc.. Now you could argue, what comes first, the chicken or the egg? If more business was incoming, would these services remain open? Bringing corporate people over requires an entertainment strategy to match the professionalism of the incentive ravel industry.

    The Algarve has numerous international standard golf courses. We have one questionable one, with Matutes planning one on protected land. Simply not good enough.

    We need regular flights throughout the winter so planners can organise their packages well in advance. Not only do we need hotels to stay open, we need higher standard of rooms to compete with comparible destinations. Even our growing number of 5* hotels which charge 5* prices only offer 2/3* service.

    Matutes wants Ibiza to become the St Tropez of Spain. St Tropez got on the map in 1955 with Roger Vadim shooting Brigitte Bardot in “And God Created Women”. They took over a family home and the owners agreed to cook for the crew. This became Club 55. What I’m saying is that St Tropez crew ‘organically’. In 70 years it has retained it’s architectual charm with the implementation of strict planning legislation. It didn’t happen overnight.

    A lot needs to be done to offer Ibiza as a credible alternative to the established winter sun destination.


    1. Good points David, I’ve often argued about the connectivity/chicken & egg syndrome but if It takes a full day to get here via another airport then Ibiza will always suffer when it comes to attracting winter conferences. If you take the Dubai Example then Square A1 for them was own airport & connectivity. Build it and they will come.


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