It’s been a strange couple of weeks on the White Isle. The start of daily international flights coupled with inclement weather has meant that tourists have had a challenging time.
When I say tourists I’m not talking about friends and families of residents who enjoy the quietness of the low season but genuine tourists who have read so much about Ibiza and are visiting, possibly for the first time.
One evening last week I saw a group of young females, all in their mid 20’s and dressed to the nines, wandering around the cold, dark streets of San Antonio desperately trying to find somewhere to eat and drink. I bet they couldn’t believe what they were seeing, one of Ibiza’s main resorts in darkness and nearly everything closed.
Many of us have spent years calling for winter tourism in the Balearics yet we can’t even get the low season off to a good start. There are many factors of course but surely this is where the Balearic Tourism board need to be more actively involved. This is the same Balearic tourism board who go to all the major travel shows (all expenses paid) with the specific objective of promoting low season travel. Go figure.
More synergy is required between all the moving parts. The tourist board while promoting the islands needs to do its best to ensure that the main resorts are relatively open and functioning by acting as a conduit between local businesses such as bars, hotels restaurants and the main travel providers like airlines, tour operators and transport companies.
You can’t blame local business owners for not opening in April when numbers are low and costs are high so we are in a catch 22 position. Genuine tourists arriving on planes being met by hundreds of empty taxis and being taken to closed resorts.
This is where the island council and local government can play a more pivotal role to incentivise local businesses to open at the start of April. Make it easier for them, give them a sweetener on local taxes, favorable advertising terms, allow them to use the walkway for a limited time, anything that might make them think favourably about opening their doors in April.
The challenges over the last 2 years has seen pro-active local authorities thinking outside the box and that’s what we need to get the summer season off to a good start with some added stimulus. It’s what you might call a win/win.
It’s Easter in a couple of days, the biggest Spanish holiday of the year and Ibiza has plenty going on. The weather forecast is good and many sporting events are planned but we should never rest on our laurels especially during the shoulder months. If this was a school report on the first 3 weeks of tourism on the island it might read: very capable, outstanding ability but application at times is questionable. Can do much better.