Be Careful What You Wish For

1st week of August and San Antonio is quiet, very quiet. Walking around town there are very few groups of youngsters, nobody is reminiscing about the night before in a loud manner, the atmosphere is almost eerie, this isn’t how it should be in peak season.

There are tourists, the Spanish are here as they always are in August but they stick to the cafes and local restaurants and will be gone in 10 days. A few other nationalities mill around but the most important cog in this previously well oiled tourist machine is missing.

This is the reality since the British government reintroduced a 14 day quarantine for those returning from Spain effectively killing off British tourism overnight. Instead of separating the islands from the mainland (like Germany managed to do with ease) they implemented the regulation across the board for all of Spain including the Balearics and the Canaries. The masses can’t afford to take 2 weeks off work after a holiday. Game over until they change their stance.

Ironically, as the UK hides behind ‘the science’ justifying their actions as trying to protect their population, Ibiza has only 3 cases of Covid in hospital. 2 of those are now negative but are being kept in under observation meaning that the island has just ONE positive case of Covid19 on its hospital wards yet the British Government deem it an unsafe destination. Quite staggering really when you consider what is happening in England.

Whether the UK’s decision has anything to do with Brexit, Gibraltar, keeping the pounds in their own economy or a simple case of mismanagement with a touch of laziness, it doesn’t matter for those on the White Isle who now face an uncertain future and 18 months without employment with minimal help from the Spanish government. It’s a very precarious situation.

If I was a betting man I would wager that the UK will lift the quarantine regulations just as the holiday season is drawing to a close opening up the corridors once again as people are going back to work, a small shred of hope in a murky sea of darkness.

If there’s one positive to come from this sorry affair it’s the stark realisation that Ibiza and especially San Antonio needs British tourism. The much maligned Brits have taken blow after blow over the years (some justified, some not) as a local uprising blamed them for everything that is bad conveniently forgetting that they only ever come over looking to enjoy themselves and spend their hard earned money. Lest they forget now.

Hopefully the penny has dropped, especially in San Antonio, and British tourism will finally get the respect it deserves from the local population. Mass tourism will always bring challenges and San Antonio will be forever fighting a stigma that was born in the 80s and consolidated in the 90s but all you have to do is look around to see that the town is moving in the right direction with new boutique hotels, a more sophisticated offering and an average spend per person that other Mediterranean resorts can only dream of.

The West End area will continue to be a political hot potato and there will always be unscrupulous people on the streets but the San Antonio of 2020 (and 2021) is a million miles away from where it was 10 years ago. The only thing missing right now is the British people who, if it wasn’t obvious before, almost single-handedly, fuel our local economy.

It will always be a love/hate relationship between the local population and tourism but let’s hope that now we have all seen the other side of the coin even the staunchest critics understand the basics of the relationship and are more tolerant of young, excitable British enjoying an island they love and return to year after year.

As we now see with our own eyes, San Antonio and Ibiza isn’t the same without the Brits and all they bring – the good and the not so good, the sneers have turned to tears. As the old saying goes – be careful what you wish for… may get it.

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.

8 thoughts on “Be Careful What You Wish For”

  1. Good Morning
    Interesting read. When the 14 day quarantine was announced, the Balearics and Canaries were exempt due to their low levels of infection. However, then the idiots swung into action. The same fools you read about crammed in pubs, and on beaches in the UK, with no attempt at distancing, decided to start crowing on social media about how they didn’t intend to quarantine as they were going to holiday in Spain, then fly to Ibiza, and re-enter the UK by that route. I suppose the Government decided that loophole had to be closed, hence where we are today. It’s unfortunate for those of us who know how to behave, and even more unfortunate for Ibiza, who need the tourism spend. As for ending the quarantine in Sept/October, I don’t think that’s likely, as we have to reopen the schools in September, and apparently “The Science” says there has to be a trade-off with something else to do that. As the latest farcical idea was to lockdown the over 50’s, I can’t see late holidays featuring too highly.
    On the bright side, you must be savouring the peace and quiet on the Island, although I guess getting through the Winter when you haven’t really had a Summer season is going to be hard on some. However this will pass, it has to, and 2021 will be the best ever, fingers crossed. We will be back.

    Have a good day

    Liked by 1 person

  2. More I think about this Martin, is that the main reason has nothing to do with science but is about keeping the brits at home to spend their money in the UK. The recently announced 50% off food and drink has suddenly seen people returning to towns and cities to eat out (ironic given it’s the same week the government announced an ‘obesity’ charter?). The brits will be back I’m sure – just not sure how long this is going to take – keep the faith!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I now live in Cornwall and it is the busiest season ever due to the fact people cannot take 2 weeks off work to quarenteen and are frightened as Spanish covid19 cases are increasing. Our cases are also rising so we have local lockdowns which are a Joke as people just go anywhere else in the country to shop, etc. I feel sorry for people having all of their holidays messed about and all the business owners and people employed on the island. I hope the quarenteen for the return to the UK gets scrapped for the Baleares as your cases are low. Our weather is awful so people would love to visit your sunny island.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Martin great piece! I can totally understand some of the tension with the locals but I really do hope now they appreciate that the Brits helped build the Ibiza brand to what it is today. The snarling was turning to snobbery over the years. ‘Thanks for all the cash but we don’t want you anymore’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Spot on. I stayed in Ibiza in July. The waiters in several places were just super rude (even worse than years before). This month we’ve gone to Mykonos. There’s a good mix of Italians, Greeks, Brits, Germans, French, etc; there’s some limits for the outdoor clubs and the indoor but everyone’s having a great time and most of all the waiters are super friendly and make their appreciation known! Barely a copper in sight, too! It’s a rare occasion when I go to some place in ibiza and get this quality of service.

      Someone tell the spanish they better learn how to put on a happy face and crack a smile otherwise we take our money to other islands.


  5. I have felt from the start of the decision to quarantine all of Spain that it was a poorly formed policy and totally lacking in understanding of the needs of the Spanish tourist industry. In reality the UK should be helping Spain where it can and vice-versa and the fact that Spain is not quarantining their people who come to the UK shows far greater international co-operation for the benefit of everyone. I am sure that the UK government could work out a safe way of allowing their tourists to the Balearics without the imposition of quarantining.
    Keep shouting Martin and we will do our best from this side!
    Bob the Vicar

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have noticed, unlike other foreign holiday destinations, there is no massive discounting on Booking.Com for hotels and prices are pretty much the same as last year or even a little higher. Truly the Ibecenco way. Of course the ones that have opened are less likely to want to discount, as they will need as much revenue as they can possibly get this year but it indicates that the better off Ibicencos can ride this storm with their accumulated wealth, (many not even opening) where as the many islanders who rely on the summer to see them through the winter, have seen their resources and savings dwindle into negative territory, unless they are fortunate enough to be collecting a pension or income not relient on the island. These wealthier islanders will never relate to their pain.
    This situation is going to devistate many of the foreigners who have chosen to live on the island and may see them with no option other than to return to their homeland, where they will find many of their fellow countrymen at the front of the queue when it comes to employment. The consequences of the British governments position will be felt far and wide, from the treasury in Madrid who’s usual funding from police fining already struggling bars will be devestated, to Senegal where families relying on the income sent back to them from the looky lookies to feed their children. The consequences have truly been catastrophic for those that survive on a stable income. The wealthy landowners, not so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Martin and all

    I believe that the stark reality is that the English louts & hooligans who get wasted and drugged up & have thrown themselves off balconys thinking they can fly and who have brought some shame to the British Community are the minority of English/British Tourists. But they are the Reason most people that live on the Island wont go to the west end for a night out. Then this is the Brush that tars the whole of San An ! In my opinion there are many great places, fabulous beaches, fantastic Restaurants and fantastic people, but the Council have seen the changes made in other parts of the island introducing upmarket hotels etc and they believe that they can change it overnight unfortunately they can’t and doing this will only bring a disastrous change in the Economy as the democraffic of the clients will change. But will the wealthy who stay in 5 star hotels want to rub shoulders with the Drunk English Irish Scottish Welsh German Drunk Tourists who frequent the areas around San An as they cant stay in the west end for the duration of there holiday they have to venture in other areas hence the Total Area being Tarnished.


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