There are many conspiracy theories going around at the moment but the biggest one is right on our doorstep. There’s a popular misconception that Ibiza won’t have a summer season when we are already having one. Beaches are busy, bars are bustling, the atmosphere is good and all this without tourists.
The majority of the Schengen area will start to open up from 15 June with Spain following on 01 July so unless there’s a dramatic spike in virus numbers there’s going to be a summer whether the doom mongers like it or not. Fellow European countries with low infection rates are more or less back to normal and are now booking flights with confidence. Life goes on in mainland Europe.
The big anomaly is the British factor. While Europe went into an early lockdown the British borders remained open. Now that contagions are going down and Europe is opening up the UK has brought in a 14 day quarantine period for international arrivals which has sent their travel industry into even further chaos.
It’s a side swipe that doesn’t make any sense. The time for a quarantine was at the start of the crisis when travellers were bringing the virus with them, what’s the point in bringing it in now when most of Europe has a lower infection rate than the UK?
An unworkable and resource heavy quarantine means that many will just ignore it anyway, when Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary was asked on TV yesterday whether Ryanair would cancel flights, he said: “No, because the flights are full outbound of the UK. British people are ignoring this quarantine, they know it’s rubbish.”
When sworn enemies BA, Easyjet and Ryanair come together you know the world has gone slightly mad but these giants of the aviation industry have teamed up to take on the UK governments quarantine implementation in court. They know that this could be make or break for their summer flight program.
Another factor to consider is whether people will want to travel with all this going on. A YouGov poll yesterday suggested that only 15% of British want to travel abroad this year whereas it was just over 10% when you throw in the quarantine factor. Travel, post Covid, will be a completely different experience with longer queues, face masks and reduced capacity.
Last Friday I spoke to Hugh Elliott the British Ambassador to Spain and asked him if he thought there would be British tourists in Spain in July. His Excellency told me that he’s confident it will happen and that the respective governments are in constant dialogue with the possibility of a reciprocal airbridge agreement. The million dollar question though is at what level. My opinion is that is we get close to 50% of last year then it would be a minor miracle but it gives us something to aim for.
Yesterday Jet2 and their holiday offshoot, the 2nd biggest British tour operator on the island announced that they were starting flights again on 15 July. This wasn’t unexpected with all the confusion and mixed messages in the UK and is a more realistic start date. Easyjet will start flying to Ibiza mid July whilst Ryanair continue to offer cheap seats from early July. The UK airlines are trying their best but you can’t blame some of them for pushing back 2 further weeks to the start of the school holiday season when their load factors will be higher.
Meanwhile back on the White Isle life carries on in the ‘new normal’. Face masks have become a way of life but the café and bar terraces continue to be busy, the streets and beaches are bustling but there is still a big thing missing. Tourists.
Ibiza is open now for the local population and will be open to international tourists from 01 July. We are ready and waiting, this is fact not fiction. It will be a different experience from previous years but the Islands beauty and atmosphere can never be taken away.
Whether people will want the hassle of getting here is the big unknown in the equation but don’t get confused by the daily overload of ‘information’, Summer 2020 is happening.