New Study Highlights an Ibiza at Saturation Point

A new environmental study by the Balearic University has thrown out some interesting statistics which highlights the pressure that Ibiza is under in the 21st century.

Firstly, the ratio of tourists per resident is now 25.56 travelers per inhabitant, the second highest in the world with only Andorra having more at 33.5 tourists per resident.

The study also focusses on the ‘human pressure index’, at the beginning of August when the indicator is at its highest, the total accommodation capacity exceeds 122%, in other words “there are more people on the island than available places to house them. This gives us a clear indication of the saturation of the island”. The report is at pains to stress that that this isn’t sensationalism but the true reality comparing it to 17 years ago when the HPI figure was 100%, 22 points less.

The report also indicates that in 2016 there were 204,534 housing places for a total resident population of 142,065 people, an occupancy rate of 69.45%. In 2001 this figure was 55.57% and the report details the decline of residential accommodation options due to the increase in the island population and the stagnation of construction since the outbreak of the housing crisis.

They also indicate that “the total number of non-regulated tourist places in homes in 2016 was around 18,000 or 23,000, which would be between 3,100 and 3,900 homes”. This trend has brought with it “new serious social problems, such as the abusive rental and purchase prices and the consequent expulsion of the local population”.

More worryingly for younger residents the study reveals that in the modern Ibiza it takes 20 years to purchase a house with an average salary when financial guidelines recommend 4 years and also that a whopping 82% of salary goes towards renting on the island even though the the EU clearly states that “a household is overburdened when more than 40% of disposable income is allocated to housing expenses”.

The report concludes that based on the results obtained and the scenarios derived an “information system is necessary on the direction of the growth model”, as well as urging reflection “on the island that we want to leave for future generations”.

Source: Diario de Ibiza/Societat d’Història Natural de les Balears (SHNB)

The West End Strikes Back

San Antonio’s West End businesses have called in Alfonso Rojo, President of ‘Pimeef’, the powerful local business group to mediate with the council and try and find a way to negotiate longer opening hours other than the new 3am closing time law proposed just before Christmas.

Speaking after meeting local councillors Rojo said that business owners are “skeptical” with this new regulations and doubt that it will be fulfilled by certain bars who already “jump over the bullfighter”.

The same business owners are deeply concerned that the new regulations “will ruin the West End” but Rojo also said that local entrepreneurs “do not defend the ‘anything goes’ attitude in the West End and are aware that the rules are breached”.

Rojo stated that “the businesses who carry out bad practices give the area a very bad image,” and believes that an agreement must be reached with all the owners of the West End’s premises to comply with laws. “It is better to achieve consensus, the new regulations will hardly be effective if it only comes from the council”.

There is a group of West End businesses that already comply with the law and they want the council to accelerate the sanctions that are applied to premises that commit infractions, such as having pushy PR’s on their staff or leaving doors open creating unacceptable and illegal noise levels.

Rojo also believes that it will be “very difficult” to enforce terraces to finish at 11pm because that is when it begins to get busy in the West End. “This schedule will make it unfeasible to have terraces”.

Similarly, the business owners don’t agree with a 3am closure because if their premises comply with all the regulations, with proper soundproofing and keep the doors closed, “they can continue to be open without disturbing local residents”.

San Antonio councillor Aída Alcaraz didn’t clarify if the council will make any concessions. “We are now in the process where businesses can present and display counter arguments that we will study with the thoroughness that they deserve”.

Alcaraz insisted that the council “has to enforce the law” and not favour the interests of any group of businesses over residents “who may suffer health damage from illegal and unacceptable noise levels above those that are legally allowed”.

Source: Periodico de Ibiza/Foto: M Sastre

10 WISHES FOR IBIZA 2018

1 A ceasefire in the continuing war between the island’s law makers and the entertainment industry and a recognition of how important this sector is in the big scheme of things. Instead of blaming each other for the crime that comes with certain elements put more control on the streets and clean up the island instead of closing and prohibiting.

2 An end to the building ban that has seen growth on the island come to a standstill and licences to reform major projects taking over 2 years. This is unacceptable especially when it will improve things.

3 The fixation with beach clubs coming to an end. The privatisation of Ibiza’s beaches has carried on unabated over the last few years, there’s definitely a place for high end on the island but not at the loss of the the public being able to stretch out on a white piece of sand without having to pay silly money for the ‘privilege’.

4 A new world class golf course. Ibiza’s continual hardline stance against one of the planets most popular pastimes doesn’t make any economical sense with so much land that could be transformed into lush greens. Mallorca, Tenerife and Costa del Sol thrive on this type of tourism especially in low season and winter.

5 Smokeless beaches and public areas. Ibiza’s beaches are being transformed into giant ashtray with cigarette ends covering every square metre of sand. Time for a major re-think to clean up our most important natural commodity before it’s too late.

6 An island wide ban on plastic bags. Plastic is the enemy of this archipelago and laziness is the disease but there can be a cure. Time to be an innovating island and look at recyclable products that will stop marine life suffering and having to wait between 20-1000 years for that supermarket plastic bag to degrade into the earth.

7 Residents to regain more tolerance for tourism. It never used to be this way, previous local generations knew the value of tourism however many of their offspring have grown tired, resenting the holidaymakers that come to the island. Time for a reality check, maybe the government could start running workshops to other not so fortunate destinations so we can finally be thankful?

8 A coherent 10 year plan for vehicles, parking and traffic. Having just spent Christmas in New Delhi I’ve seen a future without making tough decisions and it’s not pretty. It’s chaotic and dangerous and needs addressing rather than waiting for the next generation to solve it.

9 VIP culture to come back to Planet Earth. A social media obsessed world has driven the desire for no expense spared weekends on the White isle but small family businesses are suffering as a result of the same 10 places getting all the trade. Aforementioned businesses need to up their game too but never has the need to spread the wealth been more acutely felt.

10 Ibiza remains as vibrant and Inspirational as always. Regardless of the challenges ahead the island is still a haven for free-thinking people from all over the world who add to it on a daily basis. Yes it’s a lot more expensive than it used to be but that’s the global economy for you. It’s still the best place in the world but you knew that anyway.

A Very Happy New Year, see you in IBIZA 2018