Do you even remember Ibiza 2019? So much has happened since then, but it was one of the busiest summers on record for the island. New venues, fine restaurants, concept hotels, even customer service was improving (honestly). But it was manic, really manic.
We all know what came next and against the odds Summer 2020 happened for 6 ‘glorious’ weeks. It was unexpected, restrictions were suffocating but it was also beautiful and more than welcome. Last summer was a surprise success that nobody really expected especially after so much trepidation and stress and now Summer 2022 is around the corner.
What can we expect? It’s the 64 thousand dollar question but there’s definitely a change in the air taking into account the last 2 summers when, to nearly everyone’s surprise, Ibiza managed just fine without the super clubs (who weren’t allowed to open). World class entertainment never hurt any destination but the lack of nightlife concentrated the mind in other directions.
Summer 2021 was when Ibiza came of age and grew in confidence to not just fall back on the ‘we have the best clubs in the world’ monologue whilst actively encouraging people to see the island through the bottom of a premium bottle of vodka. Nature became the new scene and eating out became the new rock n roll.
Ibiza’ gastronomy has always been a badly kept secret but now with 2 Michelin starred restaurants it’s culinary reputation is out the bag and growing worldwide. New restaurants are popping up plus the old favourites that never went away. If you’re a foodie then welcome to the pleasuredome.
It’s refreshing that other options are finally being explored although we can never underestimate that importance of Ibiza’s nightlife scene, it’s what put the island on the hedonists map back in the day and the big announcement last week was that clubs can reopen from April although we don’t know under what conditions. There will be mixed feelings on the island but it’s not before time as other destinations opened up earlier and started to make inroads into Ibiza’s core summer market.
Despite all the fanfare and headlines it’s hard to envisage the big clubs (Amnesia, Privilege, Ushuaia, Hi, Pacha, DC10 plus Eden and Es Paradis) being able to run 7 nights a week to packed houses. Some might even decide not to open and for the rest it could become a hotly contested bloodbath that causes a casualty or 2, Let’s not forget that Pacha recently had an emergency loan of 18 million euros from the Spanish government so pressure will be on them to start turning a profit.
The biggest surprise has been how well the island performed over the last 2 summers under very difficult circumstances. 2020 was short and sweet but ran at about 40-50% of pre-pandemic levels, 2021 was about 75% so what lessons have we learned from this challenging experience? Mainly that we don’t ever need to sell our souls again for the tourist dollar. Create a destination that welcomes all types of tourism, make hay while the sun shines by all means (August is August after all) but quality over quantity wins the race. How do we know? Well that’s exactly what has happened over the last 2 summers even though it wasn’t in the grand plan.
We have to take the positives, even from one of the the most challenging times in living memory and as anticipation and excitement rises for the new summer it’s worth remembering that sometimes less is more. It’s a concept that the white isle has struggled with over the years but the reset that has been thrust upon Ibiza can now be used to build a truly world class destination where tourists and residents can co-exist.
Ibiza has all the ingredients – a spectrum of hotels and villas to suit all tastes, fine restaurants, world class beach clubs and nightlife, a local culture steeped in tradition and heritage, white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue waters – after 2 tough years and with a fresh approach the island now has a unique opportunity to fine tune the recipe.