The Balearics “Rejection of Tourism” Continues

Tourism has made the Balearic islands and many of it’s native inhabitants rich beyond their wildest dreams but the anti-tourism philosophy and the relentless quest for negative publicity that has been endemic over the last few years shows no sign of stopping.

This weeks addition to the ‘you couldn’t make it up’ list is the news that the Formentera government is pushing forward a new law that may leave you scratching your head in bewilderment.

This beautiful island is the jewel in the Balearic crown and with no airport relies solely on boats to bring tourists to it’s door yet a new maritime law will ban day cruise boats from docking at the only port in La Savina.

Now let that sink in for a minute (pun intended). A tourist island that’s only accessible by boat but doesn’t want day cruises to go there. It doesn’t want to cut back, limit or renegotiate it wants a total ban. No wonder the outside world is perplexed to what the Balearic Islands actually do want.

The new law won’t affect the larger ferry companies such as Balearia and Trasmapi who service the island on a daily basis throughout the year but will affect the 8 pleasure boat companies specialising in day cruises who are hopping mad as the new law will virtually kill off part or most of their business overnight. This week they have been remonstrating strongly with local politicians including Pepa Mari, who’s in charge of transport and mobility at Ibiza’s Island council.

The boat companies claim that the new measures ‘will reduce the quality and diversification’ that Ibiza offers to tourists by depriving them of the possibility of visiting Formentera directly from areas, such as the Marina Botafoch, Playa d’en Bossa, San Antonio and Santa Eulalia.

They have also reiterated that the new decree ‘is an attack on the freedom of business, equity and justice’ saying that 200 jobs could be in serious danger. The boat companies also point out that Formentera companies can still continue to offer day trips to Ibiza so the new law is discriminatory and literally one-way traffic.

The CEO of Mallorca based Meliá Hotels, Gabriel Escarrer, has also waded into the debate saying that the current perception that the Balearic Islands has too many tourists is so widespread that tour operators have asked him if the Balearic Islands ‘wants to commit suicide’ because they do not understand how the islands can adopt so many measures that harm competitiveness whilst at the same time sending out messages that generate uncertainty and transmit a rejection of tourism’.

Meanwhile the local press are reporting that Turkey and Egypt are seeing a 30% increase in demand whilst the Balearic Islands had a near 300,000 drop in British and German visitors in 2018 compared to the previous year. It doesn’t take a rocket science to decipher these numbers, a little common sense can see that people are deserting the Balearics in search of cheaper destinations that value tourism.

Welcome to the Balearics where we only want a certain type of tourist and if you’re ‘lucky’ enough to pass the means test you will be required to pay an extra tax on arrival at your all inclusive hotel which will soon not be allowed to serve alcoholic drinks and by the way don’t even think about that day trip to Formentera!

Vote 2019 – The Only Ibiza Voice You Have

This isn’t a begging letter, it’s a wake up call. For those who like to avoid these things because it’s ‘not your thing’ or you don’t want to ‘get involved’ it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee.

I’m going to be honest with you, as a foreigner in Ibiza we’re a 2nd class citizen, the authorities will tell you otherwise but that’s the plain truth. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s always been but it’s OK because there’s plenty of us in it together.

But here’s the good news, voting in the local municipal elections is your ONLY way to make a real difference in Ibiza. Your democratic right as a citizen of your municipality means that you have the choice of who to vote for, who leads your local council.

I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, that’s a deeply personal decision, I may campaign at a later date for a political party but my passion is to see British & other foreigners at the polling station come Election Day in May 2019, making a difference.

The British in Ibiza are a strange bunch, I know I’m one of them. We’re not terribly keen to ‘get involved’ hoping that others will sort the problems for us. Most Brits don’t even speak the local language very well, a problem when your mother tongue is the worlds language and you can get by without it, although this is no excuse.

Other foreign communities on the island such as the the Rumanians understand the power of the vote and get organised, negotiating with parties and block voting. Clever people those Rumanians.

But let me be clear. As an immigrant It’s all we’ve got.

We can’t vote in the Spanish general election. We can’t vote for the island council. We can only vote in the municipal elections. 1 paltry vote but what a vote it is! The power to help decide who runs your local council and who makes the big decisions that you have to live with on a daily basis.

To me it’s quite a simple analogy. If you don’t vote you forfeit your right to complain. You forfeit your right to have a voice. You’re invisible.

It’s such a simple procedure too. As long as you have a residency card and are registered at your town hall, all you have to do is walk in and fill out a form. Takes less than 5 minutes to do it but it can make a world of difference and the politicians know it.

Nobody knows what will happen in the 2019 municipal elections, history hasn’t been written yet but one thing for sure is that the silent majority will decide as they always do. The silent majority are those who register to vote and make an informed decision but don’t shout about it. These are the ones who make the big difference, just make sure you’re one of them

European citizens have until 30 January 2019 to register to vote at their local town hall. To be able to vote you must have a green residency certificate plus be ’empadronado’.