It’s November! The traditional summer season has drawn to a close so let’s take a few minutes to look back on summer 2021 and see how the dynamic of the island dramatically changed coming out of a global crisis.
The Balearic government in their ‘wisdom’ decided to keep the super clubs closed for a 2nd summer depriving Ibiza of one of it’s most important cogs, forcing the island to start afresh and look for other products to keep the hype alive.
The undoubted success story was the gastronomic sector which became the new nightlife alternative. Ibiza has always been blessed with a great selection of restaurants but 2021 became the summer of food. Reservations were a must and some establishments even operated a minimum spend with an allocated time slot. Lack of supply and plenty of demand was a license to print money and the tourists lapped it up. Fine dining became the new rock n roll.
Beach Clubs carried on their domination with reduced capacities causing the nightlife sector to spit even more feathers. There’s no love lost between these competing institutions but while one remained in enforced closure the other raked in the spoils under the sunshine (still with no dancing allowed). Life is never fair.
With no major day or club nights the search for a special experience turned to life on the ocean wave and day charters to Formentera and other beautiful beaches became a staple, all with a big bottle of champagne thrown in (for insta purposes only of course). The nautical industry went from strength to strength in 2021.
The ones who suffered were those who couldn’t open or chose not to open. The world famous super clubs were required by law to stay closed while the majority of other European countries opened their clubs and dance floors. The Island of dance had its soul ripped out by the Balearic politicians in Palma bloated on their own self importance. Long gone are the days when Ibiza was the place you came to dance the night away because you couldn’t back home. Imagine Las Vegas without the casinos.
When in July the borders came down and mainstream travel opened up again some hotels and other businesses decided to stay closed. Was it laziness, indifference, too much money earned in previous summers? Everyone has their reasons but it seemed bizarre that so many remained closed even when demand kicked in again.
San Antonio’s West End continued to be a ghost town, all the things that once made it great now working against it and conspiring to keep the doors closed. Has the town missed it? Will it ever be the same again? Many local politicians don’t seem unhappy with its demise and its hard to see it ever returning to its previous glories but a lot a of entrepreneurs are lining up to try and revive the urban area of San An, they know what a great opportunity it is.
Meanwhile many local businesses struggled to find adequate numbers of staff especially as young British workers are now persona non-grata (thanks Brexit), smokers were required to huddle in the street and the less said about the inadequate taxi service in peak season the better.
So summer 2021 is no more, it was very different from any before and probably unlike any other in the future. There were plenty of positives and a few negatives but that’s like any summer. It will be remembered fondly by some and harshly by others. Ibiza, always an island of contrasts but in many ways that’s what makes it tick.
After all has been said and done I can’t help thinking that the big winners were those who took a chance and discovered that the White Isle isn’t all about the clubs or viewing the island through a large bottle of premium vodka. It isn’t about any one thing. Ibiza is and always has been far greater than the sum of its parts, it just took a global pandemic for us to remember.