It’s almost election time in Ibiza which means as sure as night follows day the usual political suspects will trot out the same lines that they have been coming out with for years even though things have drastically changed over the last decade.
Joan Torres, of the PI party, has promised to ‘eradicate excess tourism’ from San Antonio should he become Mayor in the local elections on 28 May. Sr Torres is the man who gained only 400 votes at the last election but was the kingpin in forming a government with the PP party and then consistently caused trouble by voting and briefing against his own team until he was removed late last year. If there was ever an example of why proportional representation doesn’t work then this is it.
Yet Sr Torres still uses this throwaway phrase for leverage. For years it was directed at San Antonio’s West End when chaos lurked around every corner and groups of naive youngsters would get the hard sell into buying a bottle of cheap spirits, mixers and several shots for a tenner each.
The result wasn’t pretty or dignified, a race to the bottom by unscrupulous bar owners undercutting their neighbours because they didn’t know any better. Then along came COVID and the West End didn’t open for the best part of 2 years and when it did, life and tastes had moved on dramatically. The area is now a shadow of its former self with only a handful of bars open for business attracting the cheaper end of the market, it still has a place in the tapestry of San Antonio even though the whole area now has to close at 3am.
Ibiza has been transformed over the last decade, some may say not for the better but the evolution has been stark, the personal spend of each tourist amongst the highest in the world. Ibiza has a product that other destinations can only dream of and is the envy of many yet opportunistic politicians still want to demonise youngsters for having a good time, biting the very hand that feeds them. Since when was it a crime to overindulge and let your hair down on holiday?
There is a line that shouldn’t be crossed and some tourists behaviour in the summer leaves a lot to be desired but these idiots are very much in the minority. The overwhelming majority have fun in the sun, no different to anywhere else with a build up of youngsters on a hot summers day with free flowing alcohol. To mark out San Antonio for its excessive past is doing a disservice to it’s future.
The spotlight of San Antonio’s ‘excess’ has shifted to larger venues who operate daily parties but they have plentiful security and fully stocked medical facilities. It’s when the tourists leave the venue that problems can sometimes arise and these venues should never get a free pass but should also be applauded for providing a controlled safe space for maximum enjoyment, that’s one of the reasons why they are busy every day.
There’s much that needs improving on the White Isle like the the local transport system so there’s not an over reliance on the woeful Ibiza taxi service or incentivising local businesses to open earlier in the season or clamping down on street sellers and pickpockets. Affordable housing for professionals and a few pedestrian pathways to stop people walking on main roads wouldn’t go amiss either
Ibiza has made its global reputation on world class entertainment and now you can add fine dining and top hotels as a reason why the island is at the very top of its game but there’s still much to focus on to make Ibiza a better place to live and visit. Let’s not let spurious pronouncements by polarising politicians cloud the real issues at hand.