Ibiza Needs Tourism…..BUT

As predicted by many, including myself, the Balearic Government announced this week that flights would be arriving en masse from Germany over the Easter period. This could change as Germany may go into another national lockdown but the message has been received loud & clear by us all: We will open our borders at the drop of a hat for the tourist dollar no matter what the implications.

All this news comes as Germany reports ‘exponential growth’ in infections whilst Ibiza has managed to substantially bring down its numbers. It hasn’t been easy to do – restaurants, bars and big stores have been closed for several weeks only reopening in the last few days. Movement has been restricted, Ibiza has done what it’s been told (kind of), most have played by the rules and we are coming out on top.

The method behind the madness of potentially letting in thousands of tourists from a country with more contagions than your own is very simple…MONEY. The vast majority in the Balearic archipelago earn their income from tourism. The Balearics and especially the 3 smaller islands are 1 trick ponies, we have very little else. The only ones who don’t rely on tourism are the migrants who retired and relocated or those who earn their coin in the cyber-world or off island whilst enjoying the lifestyle that 300 days of sunshine per year affords you.

If someone says, ‘close the borders until it’s all over’ or ‘forget about tourism’ then I can 100% guarantee that they don’t need this industry to feed their family or put shoes on their children’s feet. It’s a fantastic position to be in and these are the lucky ones but most of us in Ibiza and the Balearics desperately need the cash flow and income that tourism brings especially as the Spanish government has been woefully inadequate in stepping up and helping out with a convoluted system that promises little and delivers even less. Every day there is talk of financial assistance but scratch away at the surface and the process is so difficult and arbitrary that few know how to or have the will to apply.

The bottom line is that the Balearics desperately needs tourism but luckily it can still afford to be selective and this is where the decision to resume tourism at Easter becomes even more bizarre. Easter lasts for 10 days but many will travel for a week or less.

Faced with a long summer ahead of us including the 3 main months of mid June to Mid September, where the overwhelming profit is earned, are we really going to take a risk for a handful of days at the start of April where only a select few will benefit? Have we really worked this hard up until now to let down our guard just for a few days? Wouldn’t it be better to stay closed for a short time longer so infections can lower further and more vaccines can be administered?

Those arriving, national and international, will need a negative PCR certificate to enter and also fill out the usual online forms but as we saw at Christmas, when the same provisions were in place, this isn’t a failsafe system. We need tourism, we live off tourism but we also need to be sensible with a clear and concise plan that allows for all eventualities.

Like the flu this virus isn’t going to disappear so we need to learn to live with it and some calculated risks may have to be taken along the way but only when the rewards outweigh these risks. Easter, in my humble opinion, is too much too soon.

Will Ibiza 2021 Happen?

The BIG Question

Will Ibiza 2021 Happen? This is the question I’m asked more than any other. The desperation for a holiday is growing and many are starting to plan for the summer, looking for any morsel of information with the hope that life can return to something resembling normal.

As many industry leaders have alluded to, Spain simply can’t afford to keep its doors closed for another summer, the economic fallout would be devastating for a country already on its knees (but doing a good job of concealing it). The debate about opening up at Easter has shown that the issue is front and centre. It went from ‘never’ to ‘possibly’ to ‘probably’ in the space of a few days. The pressure is already mounting for Spain and especially the islands to open sooner rather than later.

Ibiza summer 2021, in my opinion, will definitely happen but many factors will dictate who can get here and what they can do once they are here. Separate countries have their own agendas so mixed messages are constant about who can travel and when that can start although there does appear to be a collective will to get on with things but only when it is safe to do so.

The key issue is the vaccination program which is running at differing paces all over the world but this will level out over the coming weeks and months as more vaccine availability comes to the market, it won’t be long until we are buying it in petrol stations and newsagents.

Cyprus has already stated that they will welcome the ‘jabbed’ with open arms but they will also continue to accept PCR certificates on arrival and I think this will become the short term standard, this summer will be all about ‘proof’, being able to prove that you have had a vaccination or that you have had a negative test within 72 hours of travel.

It’s logical that a ‘vaccination passport’ will follow in time but as some countries are ahead of the curve while others are lagging behind this summer will be about creating an acceptable framework for arrivals while trying not exclude anyone who can prove they’re healthy but also retaining integrity and control. It will be a fine balance.

Balearic airports may also continue to offer test on arrival but it remains to be seen if this is viable for mass tourism but as techniques become speedier and more simplified it could be a short term solution. The bottom line is that tourist destinations need to protect themselves by offering a safe destination and those that do will ultimately be the market leaders in 2021 so the the stakes are very high.

Getting here is only half of the story because every destination needs to offer its tourists something to do. The turquoise blue sea, beautiful beaches and amazing climate are always going to be here but what about the restaurants, bars and clubs? As we saw in 2020 there’s no shortage of Ibiza entrepreneurs ready and able to tinker with their product to cater for the ever changing nature of post-pandemic travel.

2021, I think, will continue in the same vein as last summer where large gatherings in one place without social distancing were a definite no-no. Beach clubs adapted by going full chill out and restaurants and bars used terraces and outdoor space to the maximum while keeping tables apart. Unless there’s a major shift in a short time the large clubs will either have to adapt their environments or wait for the green light which could come as soon as mid to late summer but only if the data is positive and that’s a big ‘if’.

I’m expecting a quiet start to the summer but gaining in strength throughout the season with the realistic prospect that by mid to late summer the White Isle might be back to something like we all remember (it could be the busiest October we’ve ever seen). There will be twists and turns along the way but Ibiza 2021 is moving in the right direction, the outlook is positive.

Ibiza’s Blossoming Positivity

Taste, feel and breathe Ibiza

The Ibiza weather is getting better, the almond blossom is on the trees and the summer vibes are becoming more positive by the day. It’s still a little early to jump in with both feet but after the rough rollercoaster ride we’ve had over the the last 12 months there are small shoots of hope emerging.

Ibiza’s infections are tumbling, halving every 7 days, and despite the EU vaccine fiasco the Balearic government has announced a massive vaccination drive from the end of March – which is only 4 weeks away. Although many island residents won’t be jabbed until the summer a pathway is becoming clear.

News from the UK is very positive too with its vaccination programme surging ahead and Prime Minister Boris Johnston announcing a roadmap back to some form of normality by mid June including international travel which might resume in May and with all adults vaccinated by the end of July. The UK have got many things wrong but they have been spot on with their vaccination drive.

Easter will come too early for tourism in Ibiza and even though it’s the main Spanish holiday (except for August) the island authorities have already hinted that border controls will remain in force, which is entirely correct in my opinion. The biggest disaster would be to open up for a week at Easter only to then have to lock down again afterwards encroaching into the lucrative summer months and putting doubt into the mind of the potential tourists.

Although other island destinations have signalled that they will only allow vaccinated tourists to enter its doubtful whether Ibiza has the will or the appetite to enforce this so PCR certificates, antigen tests on arrival will continue for the foreseeable future as the first line of deterrent for those who can’t prove they’ve had the jab.

Like flu, the coronavirus isn’t going away so expectations need to be managed and the odd outbreak over summer will be inevitable so social distancing measures will have to stay in place which means 2021 might be too early for busy nightclubs and bars but many other businesses showed last summer that working within these constraints is do-able. Entrepreneurs always find a way and this is one thing that Ibiza isn’t short of.

So for now we remain vigilant, not letting down our guard but also mindful that summer is just around the corner and if the news carries on in the same vein we will soon be able to start taking the first steps to recovery. It won’t be easy and the road ahead will doubtless have a few bumps but for the first time in almost a year there’s a genuine air of positivity and realistic expectation that we can start again.

Olvidemos de Semana Santa y concentramos en Salvar el verano

La historia puede enseñarnos muchas cosas y lo que ha quedado patente en el último año es que si bajamos la guardia demasiado pronto, a la larga pagamos más.

La curva COVID de Ibiza está a la vista. El pasado mes de agosto, cuando nuestras defensas estaban bajas y el turismo nacional, principalmente, estaba ocupado, sin ningún tipo de salvaguarda, las cifras se dispararon teniendo un gran impacto en la isla y haciendo que el verano se detuviera. El otoño fue tranquilo hasta los primeros días de diciembre, junto con las prolongadas vacaciones de Navidad, que hicieron que Ibiza pasara de ser la envidia de España a convertirse en la zona más contagiosa de todo el país.

Este viaje no tiene ningún misterio. La apertura de las fronteras conlleva un riesgo y, aunque hay que tener un plan, éste debe ser calculado con una estrategia de fondo.

Al igual que muchos destinos turísticos dedicados, Ibiza está de rodillas. Muchos negocios están en el precipicio, contando las horas hasta que la sangre vital del flujo de caja pueda volver a empezar, pero ahora, más que nunca, necesitamos reabrir lentamente, centrándonos en el verano y para que esto sea un objetivo realista debemos sacrificar cualquier pensamiento de apertura en Semana Santa.

Ahora es el momento de que los gobiernos de Ibiza y Baleares tomen una decisión temprana y mantengan estrictos controles fronterizos hasta, al menos, después de las vacaciones de Semana Santa, con un plan estratégico de vacunación para los residentes. Puede ser la única solución.

Aunque hay que tomar decisiones difíciles, son necesarias para que Ibiza tenga alguna posibilidad de recuperación económica en 2021. Las consecuencias de una apertura anticipada para luego enfrentarse a un nuevo cierre durante los meses de verano son demasiado difíciles de contemplar….

SOS: Save Our Summer

Forget Easter, focus on summer

History can teach us many things and what has been obvious over the last year is that if we lower our guard too early then we pay more in the long run.

The Ibiza COVID curve is there for all to see. Last August when our defences were low and mainly national tourism was busy, without any safeguards in place, the numbers surged having a major impact on the island and causing summer to come to a screeching halt. Autumn was quiet until the early December holiday along with the extended Christmas break that saw Ibiza go from being the envy of Spain to becoming the most contagious area in the whole country.

There is no mystery to this journey. Open borders brings risk and although we need to have a plan in place, it must be calculated with an underlying strategy.

Like many dedicated tourist destinations, Ibiza is on its knees. Many businesses are on the precipice, counting down the hours until the lifeblood of cash flow can start again but now, more than ever, we need to reopen slowly, focusing on the summer and for this to be a realistic target we must sacrifice any thoughts of opening at Easter.

Now is the time for the Ibiza and Balearic governments to make an early decision and maintain strict border controls until at least after the Easter holiday with a clear vaccination roadmap for residents. It can be the only solution.

Although there are tough decisions to be made, they are necessary for Ibiza to have a chance of any form of economic recovery in 2021. The consequences of an early opening only to then face a further lockdown over the peak summer months are too difficult to contemplate.

5 things to do in Ibiza during ‘Lockdown’

‘Lockdown’ number 3 (I think) is here. Social distancing, masks everywhere, shops, bars and restaurants closed… our life really didn’t become easier during the last months. Some may be feeling a bit depressed and no wonder being confronted daily with changing rules, negative news and being constantly told what you cannot do. In times like these it helps to shift the focus so instead of more Covid News, here’s a compilation of things you CAN actually do at the moment.

1. COOK

Courgette Kofta by Paul Reynolds

Yes, our favourite restaurant is closed and we miss going out for dinner with friends but isn’t now the perfect time to tune up your cooking skills? Good food doesn’t mean you have to go out! So give that homemade lasagna a try, discover something new you never cooked before (a delicious vegan recipe), or bake that cake you never had time to do before. The web is full of free recipes. Check social media like Pinterest for inspiration or have a look at Ibiza Cookdown on Facebook started by a group of local foodie residents (Danny Sarah and Paul Reynolds take centre stage) and when the lockdown is over, you will be ready to smash those amazing dinner parties with your friends once again.

2. WALK

Puente de piedra – Cala d’Albarca

Ibiza is blessed with great weather and the island is even more beautiful now when everything is quiet. So put on those boots or trainers and discover new paths, new beaches, new landscapes, new views and parts of the island you’ve only ever heard or read about but never had the time to see with your own eyes. There is more to discover than you can ever imagine, and all it takes is a bit of time and good shoes. For a collection of walks around the island have a look at Walking Ibiza and for inspiration check out Ibiza Xplore on Instagram.

3. EXERCISE

Gyms might be closed for now but that’s no excuse – all you need is a mat and youtube – and your home gym is complete. Check out the free online videos and set yourself a daily routine, whether it’s HIIT, cardio or, if you have never tried it before, now is the perfect time to finally start that yoga class! Just 30 minutes a day could make a big difference. Your body will thank you later. Remember, swimsuit season is around the corner, despite the pandemic.

4. DE-CLUTTER YOUR HOME

We spend most of the time in our homes now anyway, so why not use this time to give our spaces an upgrade. Now is the perfect time to de-clutter, clean, reorganize and maybe even decorate room by room. If you want to see how masters do it: Japanese organisational expert Marie Kondo is a legend. Sista Sorta also offer this service in Ibiza

5. LEARN SOMETHING NEW

Selfcare is THE buzzword during the pandemic. We are even kind of forced to take care of ourselves during this time. Also they say time invested in yourself is never lost, hey? So why not learn or try something new, something you have never done before? Maybe try meditation for a whole week, grow some plants on your balcony or garden, do an online course in a topic that interests you, learn a language online, the list is endless. This is the time do something that you’ve always wanted to do.

Most important of all is to Stay Positive, Do something positive every day (even small steps make a difference) and when the world is back to normal, we will be more ready than ever to make Ibiza one of the greatest places in the world yet again.

Additional text by CM at Chakra Kitchen

Time to Talk about ‘The V Word’

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a tough start to the year on the White Isle. Ibiza’s Covid-19 numbers have hit an all time high after the Christmas festivities where common sense was thrown out of the window, we are once again scratching our heads and looking for the way forward.

It’s now February which means that Spring is just around the corner yet it feels like we’ve gone 2 steps forward and 5 steps back. Before Christmas Ibiza’s numbers were the envy of the rest of Spain but now we are the poor relations, hidden away and confined to quarters until further notice. When we hoped to be preparing for a summer season we are still looking for a way out of this almighty mess.

With close to 4000 active cases Ibiza and Formentera is perilously close to tipping point with unprecedented pressure being applied to the health service on a daily basis. The mass screenings across the island have pushed up the numbers and even though the majority of cases are asymptomatic the hospitals are reaching breaking point.

All the while us British ex-pats have to endure the UK news telling us how many Brits are being vaccinated daily. Over the last few months it’s become clear that the vaccine is the only real way out of this situation if we want to get back to some form of normality. It’s Boris Johnson’s ‘get out of jail free card’ and boy is he playing it to it’s full extent.

Nearly 10 million UK people have been jabbed, friends are putting up photos every day of their parents, grandparents or of themselves. Regardless of the total ineptness of what went before even Matt Hancock, one of the most useless politicians of my lifetime, is coming out smelling of roses after it was revealed that he rejected a contract that might have meant losing control of the Oxford vaccine that eventually went to Astra Zeneca. When Halfwit Hancock starts to look good you know we are on weird street.

Now what relevance does the UK vaccine numbers have on us here in Ibiza? Not a lot apart from showing us how it should be done because on the same day the UK was jabbing record amounts of arms it was revealed that Ibiza had vaccinated only 500 people so far on an island of around 150,000 who’s world has been turned upside down more than most due to it’s over-reliance on tourism.

The Spanish are famous for their ‘mañana’ attitude and Ibiza takes this attitude to the extreme but this is one fight we need to face head on and grab the bull by the horns. Unfortunately Francina Armengol, the leader of the Balearic parliament, seems incapable of fighting our corner lurching from 1 crisis to another, issuing soundbites that make no sense and sucking up to her boss in Madrid, Pedro Sanchez, without sticking up for the islands she gets paid very well to represent.

Like most politicians, Sra Armengol had a free pass last year as nobody knew what was happening or how to react however 1 year on and she’s still fumbling around in the dark trying to reassure islanders while flying in to take away liberties, shame she didn’t go hardball 2 weeks before Christmas. Reacting has become her byword earning her the nickname Armageddon as the protesters who took to the streets of Palma over the weekend can testify.

The Balearics continue to be the whipping boys of Spain, happy to roll over and let the Madrid politicians tickle our belly and throw us a small treat from time to time to quell the rabble rousers even though our economy has been decimated more than most.

Ibiza didn’t cover itself in glory during the holiday period but we deserve better than this, even the Falkland Islands, a sheep-farming outpost over 8000 miles away has a better strategy than Ibiza does – one of the worlds most iconic tourist destinations.

We urgently need a structured roll out of the vaccine where everyone is kept in the loop and so we can see some glimmer of light at the end of a dark tunnel. Is that too much to ask? Melia Hotels CEO Gabriel Escarrer has said that we need to have a clear roadmap for vaccines including 24/7 availability with a private and public strategy and he is bang on the money. While we continue to dither we can see summer slipping away right before us.

Rather than soundbites and broken promises it’s time for Sra Armengol to stand up and fight for the islands, breaking with party lines if needed. If Bumbling Boris Johnson can come out of this well then so can she. Every day without a realistic plan is a day wasted, the clock is ticking, a lot of people’s livelihoods depend on it and it’s a matter of life and death in more ways than one.

New Year, Same Problems for Ibiza

It’s becoming hard to remember life before this pandemic. Dancing in hot sweaty clubs, hugging & kissing your friends, going to concerts, big thronging crowds.

At the start of 2020 we all had plans, objectives to achieve. It’s fair to say that many of us took life for granted, sailing along doing what was necessary to pay the bills and live our lives how we chose. Then in March everything changed.

All of a sudden it was like living in a horror movie, one of those movies that petrified you as a kid but was fun because it was never going to happen in real life. For us in Ibiza those first few weeks under virtual house arrest was a wake up call like no other, police roaming the streets looking for offenders who were doing nothing more then getting some fresh air, dogs had more rights than children.

While others around the world readjusted to the new normal, Ibiza’s only resource was taken away. Big cities have commerce and other industries but the White Isle is a one trick tourist pony and the stable door was well and truly bolted. All the things we previously took for granted gone in a Chinese heartbeat.

If nothing else it’s made us appreciate things, realise that we had it easy. Plane loads of willing summer tourists unloading every few minutes with pockets full of money, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. ‘Build it and they will come’ but take away your only true currency and there’s not a lot left to feed on.

Incredibly Ibiza had a summer of some sorts but it was very different with new protocols put in place. Many hotels decided to stay closed and by the end of August it was pretty much all over but an 8 week summer was more than we could ever have dreamed in March when we were locked up in our homes.

A short summer means a long winter but as we head into 2021 there’s a strange feeling of dejavú like we are all stuck in a perpetual Groundhog Day. This week Ibiza goes back in to level 3 (which looks suspiciously like level 4) and like many other places contagions are rising again.

It may be a new year but the same problems persist. Ibiza is an island where a minority are unwilling to play by the rules. Big parties at clandestine locations, an airport that is unable to control itself, families and friends continuing to meet up in large numbers behind closed doors, a general unwillingness to compromise on all levels. The list goes on.

The numbers don’t lie and the spike in contagions after the early December long holiday weekend will now be followed by an even bigger spike after Christmas because people are either unwilling to follow the guidelines or are too stupid to understand the potential fallout to their actions. It’s a dangerous game to play when you are reliant on the industry most affected by the ongoing problems.

The one bright spot is that the vaccine has now arrived on the island even though we had to wait 5 long days for it to be given out due to the festive holidays. While other places started immediately and worked round the clock nothing, it seems, gets in the way of an Ibiza Xmas party.

So we have some hard months ahead of us and the Easter restart for tourism looks optimistic but we must remain positive, things are evolving and Ibiza is a fighter. Even though there are some still unwilling to adhere to the rules the majority of the island are sticking to the script, ready and waiting for the resumption of relative normality, whenever that maybe.

The End of Lawless Leisure – by Andy McKay, Founder of Ibiza Rocks

L-R Andy McKay, Pepe Rosello, Abel Matutes Prats

After a financially paralyzed year for most of Ibiza’s hospitality and entertainment sector, the Covid vaccine is finally being implemented and the future is starting to look much brighter for the island’s tourist economy. A moment that should be positive and for the main leisure companies of the island to come together to create the most attractive vacation proposal with the aim of safeguarding tourism in 2021.

On the contrary, the ruthless internal battle continues between the opposing political parties and hotel and club owners on what kind of tourism and business are considered acceptable. There is a cure for Covid but there is still a debate and a desire to kill the tourism sector that feeds the economy of Ibiza. The irony of this situation is quite incredible, not to mention that it is enormously detrimental to securing a future.

Pepe Rosello, the founder of the Space nightclub is publicly pushing for the permanent closure of day clubs and beach clubs, as well as trying to deter the under-30 tourist market. I wonder if this reasoning may be really justified as he was the original pioneer of discos. Or is this damaging public tirade more about Roselló’s bitter feud with his former partner and fellow Ibiza leader Abel Matutes of the Palladium Group and Ushuaïa because he didn’t renew his Space nightclub rental?

To put the subject in perspective, back in the 1990s, the owners of big clubs like Space were the kings of the island: they had extreme influence both in terms of power and importance, they controlled the entertainment scene and promoted a large part of the ever-growing tourism economy. Pepe Roselló was one of those kings and nightclubs during the day were a big part of his business. In the 90s the ‘Carry On’ party at Space was the 2nd biggest party at their world-famous club. That changed in 2001 with the start of Carl Cox’s Tuesday night residency. Pepe decided to be both a day club and a night club and this was the beginning of a much more lucrative time for Space.

Later, Pepe worked with promoters to develop what became the hedonistic 22-hour Sunday party “We Love.” In 2007, Roselló had created a monstrous business where the clubbing season began and ended with giant festivals of 15000 people and his nightclub had grown to the point that bringing together 8000 people for each party was the norm. It was a smart move: the terrace outside was closed and the club increased enormously in size. Roselló and his business partner Abel Matutes were indeed a formidable partnership then, but it was Pepe and the Space team that really made the club work and Matutes received a percentage of the profits as owner of the Space building.

Pepe now refers to “lawless leisure”, but in fact he was one of the kings of that golden age. Even later, when nightclubs were forced to enclose, the sound level outside their buildings was well above what is acceptable today and the opening and closing times were largely the ones that club owners wanted them to be. There were laws, but they were largely ignored. Almost all companies violated the laws, but only the truly powerful could do so without fear of retaliation.

Pepe was and is at the top of the tree and few caused problems that he could not solve. But he knew that after hours couldn’t last forever and by 2008 when the local government prevented clubs from opening until 4.30pm, Pepe was generating almost all of his income after that time. The after hours legal parties ended in 2008, the government successfully stopped this trade and Pepe was smart enough not to suffer financially; he was an unbeatable and in many ways irreplaceable force in Ibiza’s entertainment industry. However, the main problem he faced was the same as Pacha icon Ricardo Urgell: the problem of succession.

Matutues owned the Space building and it was during his association with Pepe that he proposed to convert the hotel across the street into a branded Space hotel, but Pepe always refused. Roselló’s ability to adapt and grow his business into the future will go down in Ibiza’s history as unsurpassed. He was the man who had created an outdoor terrace that was the best place to continue the party and then moved on to the evening hours while having the unique skills to drive people to the disco at 8 o´clock, 5 or 6 hours earlier than less skilled competitors. His vision was truly inspired and yet as he got older he naturally chose to slow down, but the entertainment industry around him didn’t.

Pepe now attacks people who previously worked with him, such as José Luis Benítez, current manager of Ocio Ibiza. Benítez works for Matutes today, but in the glory days of Space he was one of Pepe’s most loyal employees. Roselló attacks the lack of legality of these new leisure venues yet all the laws required to police this scene already exist today. Instead of being in the era of “lawless entertainment” we are in the final transition to fully regulated and legal entertainment and this transition requires time and understanding, as well as the application of laws and the redrafting of some that are not of the law.

And in this intriguing story, I appear. A young Irishman co-founder of one of the most important parties that has taken place on the entire island of Ibiza: Manumission and also co-founder of the Ibiza Rocks Group.

In 2009 I invited Abel Matutes Jr. to a live concert in the courtyard of my hotel, Ibiza Rocks, to show him this innovative concept and to negotiate the launch of Mallorca Rocks at a hotel owned by Matutes in Magaluf. Matutes proved to be a very useful partner for me and, with the help of his army of lawyers and technicians, we were able to legalize the Mallorca Rocks Hotel’s open-air concert activity, which became an instant success. He then used the same legal process to obtain the permits for the Ibiza Rocks Hotel and then Matutes legally launched Ushuaïa; A hotel idea inspired by the same model of the Rocks Hotels but instead of live bands they hired world-class DJs and changed the entire panorama of the entertainment industry in Ibiza overnight. While the Matutes empire enjoyed this new success, I was dealt a very bitter blow, which has given me fascinating first-hand insight to not only deal with it, but to push myself to better myself.

At that time I had 3000 beds in the Mallorca Rocks project in Magaluf and after 5 years of continuous growth Matutues turned over the properties to the BCM empire and overnight I lost practically all my Mallorca business. He found another person who invested around 18 million euros in his properties and carried out the roadmap that he had suggested to expand the business. It was a very tough trick and it hurt as I had been the one who had shown the Matutes family the way forward and inspired the idea of ​​Ushuaïa and, as a direct result of my ideas and passion, they had transformed their entire business by increasing its value by hundreds of millions. However, this helped me to come back and improve myself and thus continue working. I also have to say that my business only exists today because Matutes helped me get all the necessary permits and licenses.

Exactly the same thing happened with Pepe at Space, so I really understand him but I also acknowledge that Matutes did nothing wrong other than making smart decisions for his own benefit without empathy for anyone else. He did the same to Pepe as he did to me, but I also fully recognise that without his skills and involvement, my own business would not exist today, because from that setback I had no choice but to recover and grow.

Being upset that Matutes acted as he has done many times before and being commercially astute and uncharitable towards his partner is no reason to launch a hate campaign against everything new on the island that arose out of these post 2011 changes. Matutes gave me exactly the same treatment that he gave Pepe, but next time I would be much smarter.

I admire and respect Pepe Roselló very much and I really feel that he has been fundamental in the evolution of the Ibiza entertainment industry. Pepe and his team were true innovators and he was the owner of the club with which it was easiest for me to do business. I respect him and I like him a lot. With that said, I am convinced that his current schedule is motivated by his bitterness towards Matutes and it is ridiculous and hugely damaging to the islands entertainment industry to try to disguise it as anything else.

Matutes took advantage of the enormous talents of Yann Pissenem and Ushuaia to go from strength to strength. His daytime concept became competition for Space and, while Ushuaïa’s revenues increased, Space’s began to decline. The Matutes team felt they could do a better job exploiting the building themselves and the fact that Hï is now the most successful club on the island is proof that they were right. Space was Pepe’s greatest achievement and at his peak he had something that many believe Hï will never achieve, so it’s easy to understand the anger and sadness over losing something that he had worked so hard to build.

As for my story with Pepe, when I arrived on the island in 1994, some 26 years ago, I was 23 and I launched the Manumission events in Ku (Privilege) and shortly after our ‘Carry On’ after hours parties at the Space day club . Back then, Space only had a daytime party on Sundays and our Manumission after party on Tuesday mornings. Most people left Privilege around eight in the morning for Playa d’en Bossa.

While some ventured into the dark interior of Space, most waited for the terrace to open at 10am to experience what really was a magical party. We all cheered as planes flew overhead. In my opinion, at the time, Space was the best run club in the world. Pepe was tough, controlling the use of illegal substances, but the reality is that people came from being up all night to continue the party.

This is the true story of Pepe Roselló but the truth is being distorted today to adapt to a completely different one to damage Matutes, which is understandable in the sense that he hurt him deeply.

It suggests that these hotels are illegal and yet I have all the permits and licenses to operate my “open air auditorium” at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel. We do not generate noise pollution and there has not been a single moment when Ibiza Rocks Hotel has violated the legal limits of sound in the last 3 years. I don’t think all indoor discos can say the same. Contrary to the claims that hotel establishments like mine only paid 10% VAT between 2013 and 2016, instead of the 21% that nightclubs paid, it is completely false. It is a fact in the public domain that Ibiza Rocks paid VAT at 21%

How can Pepe Rosello be the man to lead this movement against daytime leisure? He was the king of after-hours and tried to open his own Space Hotel in San Antonio to emulate Matutes’s business model. Together we turned Playa d’en Bossa into the biggest after hours the world has ever seen and we dominated the area acoustically, but I wasn’t responsible for Space, Pepe was. How can he now have credibility in trying to stop others who follow in his footsteps and evolve the tourism model by finding new ways of doing things, like we are, all inspired by the fantastic example he set?

Why should we get into a fight based on bitterness, anger and bad blood that is not ours? I simply won’t tolerate it or let my legitimate, hard-earned business suffer from it. Covid has set the world and Ibiza back, and we undoubtedly risk a drop in quality as a result. While the repositioning of the tourism proposal is essential, it is also essential to recognize how much repositioning has already been done. The skill is not about killing the things you don’t like, but about embracing and supporting the things you like. If you don’t have a better idea to replace something you are trying to eliminate, the resulting void invariably results in a reduction in quality and creates the opposite effect as desired.

Today, unlike in the 90s, Ibiza is not just parties and discos, there are other leisure offers that make the island a much more varied place and we must also not lose sight of the fact that beach clubs and hotels with music are not ‘after hours’.

Original Article published in The Periodico de Ibiza on 13 December 2020

Health Checks for (nearly) all Balearic Arrivals

From 20 December a negative PCR test is required to enter the Balearic Islands, not only for International visitors but now also for national travellers from the mainland. Balearic Island residents will also be given the option of undergoing a free antigen test on arrival or spending 10 days in quarantine.

The news was announced by Francina Armengol, president of the Balearic Government, after a virtual meeting with her Canary Islands counterpart, Ángel Víctor Torres, aimed at agreeing on a common health control strategy for both autonomous communities whilst also highlighting that the same geographical conditions that make the islands less competitive are now their biggest asset when it comes to sanitary control.

It’s important to remember that you will still need to have a valid negative PCR test (from max 72 hours before your arrival) if you are travelling from an international airport, the new control protocol establishes 3 different groups of ‘national’ visitors from non-Balearic ports and airports.

The 1st group is for arrivals (non-residents) from Spanish airports with a cumulative incidence of infections greater than 150 per 100,000 inhabitants (currently everywhere except Murcia, Canary Islands and Ceuta), who must present a negative PCR test certificate on arrival if asked, carried out no later than 72 hours before arrival with fines for those who don’t have one.

The 2nd group is for travellers with ‘justified’ reasons such as work, health, judicial duties, exams and other causes of force majeure. In this case it will be enough to present a responsible declaration and to have an antigen test on arrival or agree to undergo quarantine. All of this would be unnecessary if they have of a negative PCR test as above.

The 3rd group is for Balearic residents who will have 3 options. The 1st is to get a free PCR test at origin in one of the 67 health centres arranged by the Balearic Government in the other autonomous communities, this is the recommended option. The other 2 options are to have an antigen test at the port or airport or undergo a 10 day quarantine.

Balearic residents who have spent less than 72 hours outside the Islands (day trippers/weekend traffic) would be exempt from any of these controls plus there is also an exemption for federated sports people who travel due to competition obligations.

It should be noted that children from 0 to 6 years old are exempt as are residents who travel between islands.

The new regulations will come into force on 20 December and will last until at least 10 January 2021 although the government reserves the right to extend if necessary.

Original article published in El Mundo