Ibiza: That was the Summer but Where’s the Money?


Woohoo it’s October in Ibiza, one of my favourite months, and as we pore over the conflicting stories of the summer it’s time to look forward to winter and analyse what’s gone before us.

If you came to Ibiza this summer and hadn’t been for a few years then you would be amazed at the changing dynamic of the island. The quality is undoubtedly going up with more fine restaurants and 4 and 5 star hotels than ever before but with it has come sky high prices which has marginalised the ‘normal’ man or woman in the street gathering negative headlines.

A capital city with amazing super yachts but with a diminishing soul as the millionaires take over not to mention new noise laws that are killing live music, a staple that this wonderful island was founded on.

Ibiza is changing and it’s hard to see where it’s all going without a coherent plan. The island’s elections are here in May 2019 and you can’t help thinking that this is a pivotal time in the Balearic archipelago’s recent history. The current politicians have been favouring residents needs over the benefits of tourism and the next election will be fought along similar lines.

For the last 3 and a half years Ibiza’s island government along with the town councils of San Antonio, Ibiza and San Jose have been run by socialist coalitions who have found it tough going presiding over the biggest shift in Ibiza tourism since the 70’s bucket and spaders lapped up sangria and donkey rides. A seismic shift that Ibiza wasn’t prepared for, and still isn’t.

The average stay on the island is now down to 4 nights which gives the paying clients only a small window of opportunity to do things and spend their hard earned money and in this social media fuelled world it’s the same old venues reaping the rewards of these short duration holidays.

Arrive, check in to a 4 star hotel, straight to Ushuaia or Hard Rock then over to Hï into the small hours. Up and out to Blue Marlin, followed by Pacha or Amnesia. Day at Ocean Beach or Nikki Beach followed by nothing much else then it’s almost time to go home. No time to discover this beautiful island or the scores of incredible restaurants for the Weekend Warriors but more than enough time to drop a couple of thousand euros at the same places, in fact the spend per person has never been as high but only a few are benefitting.

Whatever your political viewpoint the island has seen changes beyond our wildest dreams or worst nightmares. Some businesses have surged ahead while other predominantly small family traders are scratching their heads as their traditional market dissipates beyond all recognition as they struggle to come to terms with the changing market. It’s safe to say that 2018 has been a polarising year in many ways.

So as we relax a little in October and pick the bones out of another summer it’s difficult to envisage where it’s all going to end. With every boom comes a bust and with every VHS story there’s also a Betamax equivalent but also don’t be too fooled by the ‘Ibiza is 20% down stories’. Ibiza has experienced incredible growth in recent years and it was impossible to remain on this upward trajectory. A bad year in Ibiza is a good year anywhere else in Spain.

It’s an uncertain world out there and Ibiza is no different. Let’s hope the new breed of 2019 politicians address the real problems and come up with a coherent and focussed plan that protects locals but also embraces our only commodity although if recent history is anything to go by then let’s not hold our breath just yet. At least you can never accuse Ibiza of being boring.

Author: Martin Makepeace

Englishman living and working in Ibiza since 1991. Entrepreneur with a passion for villas, boats, sunsets and San Antonio. Owner of Ibiza Property Shop and Ibiza Speedboats.

4 thoughts on “Ibiza: That was the Summer but Where’s the Money?”

  1. Great comments summary Martin and totally agree that Ibiza needs to be careful not to marginalize itself and stop appealing to those who made it what it is today. There’s room for everyone if it’s planned sensibly and appropriately then this can ensure a continued strong tourism contribution to Ibiza’s economy upon which I’m sure they rely.

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  2. I read all of your blogs but this is the first I’ve felt compelled to comment on. Firstly, an excellent observation of what was the weirdest trip to Ibiza I’ve had ever. We’ve been coming for years and morphed from Pikes-only to now villa renters throughout August most years. This has allowed us to explore more and immerse ourselves in everything your piece raises as a concern for the small, family run businesses in the island. We have found some of our favourite memories in these places dotted across Ibiza and they can sit comfortably amongst the glitz of the bigger names. This year felt like Ibiza lost its confidence and was going through an identity crisis. I’d never seen so few DJ billboards. Food was definitely the battle ground and cocktail/gin bars hot topics. By the same token pricing was going nuts in some places whilst others (Pikes), were finally listening to long term residents and offering benefits for those handing over the £££’s to stay there ie cheaper drinks in the evenings at events, private area away from the throng etc. We all share the same love for the most special place but I feel this culture of bigger, better, faster, more needs to run its course to finally settle back at a sensible place. The people will be heard in the end and that includes San An council. Good luck Martin and keep fighting the good fight ✊🏼

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    1. Great feedback as I’m always interested to hear about genuine experiences, good & bad. The real Ibiza is here somewhere but you have to go out and find it these days. Don’t get taken in by the hype!

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