British Govt to Host Brexit Meeting in San Antonio

On Wednesday 22 November at 11am in San Antonio Town Hall the British Consulate will host an open public meeting for all British Nationals living in Ibiza to try and ease concerns over the UK leaving the European Union.

Cónsul General Lloyd Milen and Vice cónsul Lucy Gorman will be given the thankless task of putting themselves in the firing line and unless they know something we don’t expect plenty of ‘we are not sure’ and ‘we can’t say’ with the odd ‘that remains to be seen’ thrown in for good measure.

Even though they won’t have the answers to many questions this hard working duo will be the public face of the UK government in the Balearics during Euro-British negotiations and are trying to keep residents updated in a formal and human way.

This is just the first of many meetings but if you are genuinely concerned about your rights as a British National living in Spain then an hour of your time might be well spent listening to what the UK government has say rather than reading the sensationalist press.

Note: I did say ‘might’ and didn’t even mention the B-word once (title notwithstanding)!

Mayor is Confident of a ‘New’ San Antonio within 3 or 4 years

San Antonio Mayor José Tur ‘Cires’ is confident that by following the guidelines set out in the town’s strategic plan significant changes will be seen from 2019 onwards and hopes to see a much changed San Antonio in 3 or 4 years with a different West End and a different type of tourism that allows for the recovery of businesses in the town centre, many of which have closed down.

The coming years will see many projects undertaken such as the redevelopment of the bay area plus the refurbishment of the former town hall building opposite the fountains in order to move some services there. A more immediate change will see the relocation of the Local Police to new offices in calle Alicante which are “more modern with easier access and will provide a better service to citizens”.

Tur stressed though that the strategic plan will not end all of San Antonio’s problems or its degraded image although it does give the town the chance to change course. The plan is a tool for citizen participation where important guidelines have been set out and a picture of the current situation has been made with its shortcomings and difficulties with clear objectives to be achieved.

“The strategic plan has to be a guideline for us as a government team and for future governments,” said Tur with the intention to improve tourism in San Antonio, “look for a more family orientated tourism, with a greater purchasing power that allows for the improvement of the town centre and look for a formula that’s more respectful for local residents who live there”.

When questioned about the future of the West End and it’s place within the plan the Mayor pointed out that the area needs to “improve” in order for the town (which was the island’s first tourist destination) to get back to when there were people living, there were restaurants and a normal life; In short, look for a way that allows businesses to work so that residents can also live with peace of mind “.

He also explained that a significant number of West End business owners realise that they can’t continue in this way and that they have to change course “although there’s a lot of foreigners who only think of a quick and easy profit but we don’t agree with this as it does not suit anyone”.

Facing up to the type of tourism that San Antonio currently receives, the Mayor understands that it equates to the type of accommodation on offer and although there has been very few hotel refurbishments in the last couple of years this will change this winter. According to Tur, 30 hotels or hostals around the town intend to undertake works to improve quality and “that will attract less unwelcome tourism, so we have already started on the road to recovery”.

SOURCE: NOU DIARI

The Curious Case of Carles Puigdemont

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I’m sure that in the mind of ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont he saw himself as a Che Guevara type figure, leading his people out of the oppression of a totalitarian state, to be their saviour lauded forever and a day with statues erected and even a bank holiday named after him.  That could still happen but history has a funny way of remembering events and people and usually only remembers the victors.

I must declare early in this piece that I don’t have much empathy with the Catalans although I adore the city of Barcelona and the coastline all the way up to France but I have had several run-ins over the years which have framed my mind into the way Catalan people think and act and lets just say we aren’t entirely on the same page. They have their way and I have mine is probably a politer way of putting it.

That being said I also accept that people have the right to map their own future as long as it’s within the framework of the law of the land and this is where Sr. Puigdemont’s cunning plan comes crashing down. Unlike Guevara we aren’t talking about an oppressed state wracked with poverty and starvation, we are talking about Catalunya, one of the wealthiest parts of Spain that already has a standard of living far superior to many other places within the Kingdom.

Imagine if the SNP of Scotland or Plaid Cymru of Wales called a snap referendum where only 43% of the electorate voted and then decided to declare full independence based on the 90% voting yes, regardless that this only represented 38% of the electorate. Any way you care to look at it that’s a big call.  What about currency, central banks, borders, administration and everything that comes with being a stand alone republic that doesn’t have to piggy-back on the country you’ve just spurned. Hell hath no fury like a spurned partner.

Even Nicola Sturgeon, the wily SNP separatist, knew that the only way to ‘force’ a referendum vote was by political means and pressuring a minority government into concessions. The SNP got their way through tenacious politicking but Sr Puigdemont was in far too much of a hurry to go via that route.

As my good friend and Catalan resident Laurent Bates eloquently wrote a few weeks ago, the Catalans view themselves as a completely different country to Spain and that should be respected but to start a civil war on a whimsical notion no matter how romantic is just plain stupid. The response from Madrid was too heavy handed and the subsequent King’s speech to the nation too provocative but there are 3 sides to every story and this story can’t have a happy ending in the short term.

Here in Ibiza I’ve spoken to as many Spanish friends and acquaintances as possible trying to find someone who supports the Catalans and so far I haven’t found anyone (other than Catalans) and this tells all you need to know about the polarising situation we are in.

And then we have Señor Puigdemont, the floppy haired pantomime villain of the piece who instead of digging in his heels and becoming a martyr for ‘the cause’ decided to hotfoot it to Belgium at the earliest possible opportunity claiming that the justice system will be biased against him.  Of course it will be, it’s nearly always biased against people who flagrantly break the existing laws using public money to do so.

The writing is on the wall for Carles and his merry men and women in the current climate but things could change if the December elections decide so.  And that’s just it, democracy usually finds a way and if in the future the politicians agree on a referendum that is fully supported by a clear yes and no campaign then the Catalans deserve their day at the ballot box in a legal, transparent and cohesive way but as BREXIT has so far proved, be careful what you wish for.

Ibiza Focussing on Sport, Culture and Wellness at WTM London

It’s that time of the year again when all the major players in the travel industry congregate in London for the World Travel Market (WTM), one of the 3 major European travel fairs alongside Madrid and Berlin.  This is where all the main people can be found under one roof room, meetings are arranged, business cards are exchanged and deals are agreed.

The main focus in London is naturally on the British market which is Ibiza’s 2nd largest in terms of incoming tourists but the mood this year won’t as upbeat as usual due to the increasing doubts over what Brexit will actually mean to the Spanish tourist industry.

Historically the WTM is all about pushing low season activities such as gastronomy, culture, sport and wellness and all these are being heavily promoted this year in London. Ibiza is now a main hub and market leader for ‘wellness’ with over 20 spas on the island, 23 ‘agrotourism’* hotels and dozens of yoga schools and retreats.  ‘Boot Camps’ such as No1 Boot Camp where people are put through their paces in a military fashion for a few days are also growing in size and demand.

The peculiar thing is that Ibiza’s world famous Super Clubs AREN’T promoted in London which is like Las Vegas not promoting casinos but it’s always been this way.  The Island’s tourist department has a very small budget in comparison to the clubs so leave them to promote themselves globally and choose instead to focus on ways to attract people to the island during winter and the the low season months, namely April, May and October.

Ibiza now enjoys more connections than ever before with Ryanair operating international flights from late March until the end of October not forgetting British Airways who operate flights from London all year round almost on a daily basis. Low season fares are usually very reasonable so the focus is on the products that hook the people to come over when the island isn’t bursting at its seams.

This year the Ibiza stand is independent from the Balearic Islands main area which shows a growing confidence and although the WTM is viewed by many as a big jolly up for the politicians (which it is) the exposure that Ibiza gets on a world business level at the WTM is important and has been increasing over the years building on the brand and trying to convince everyone that the White Isle is not all about the clubs (which it isn’t).

*Agrotourism hotels are rural retreats (usually converted from large old houses) that offer boutique style rooms for nightly rental

10 THINGS WE LEARNT FROM IBIZA 2017

1. THE SAN ANTONIO COUNCIL HATES THE WEST END

Not exactly a secret for those following the shenanigans in San An over the last couple of years. First they banned legal PR’s, then removed the terraces at midnight and now new noise controls for 2018 means that farting loudly will become a punishable offence whilst pickpockets and prostitutes roam freely.

2. FIVE STAR HOTELS ARE HERE TO STAY

Massive investment by large corporations has seen Ibiza’s hostelries morph into luxury world class hotels with eye watering prices. That segment was previously under served so in many ways the island is playing catch up however many are concerned it’s now suffocating that mythical ibiza spirit. 1 star hotels charging 3 star money also means a perceived lack of value for potential repeat clients.

3. IBIZA STILL CAN’T COPE IN AUGUST

Too hot, too many people, too much traffic and no long term solutions in sight means that getting through August feels like an achievement in itself. A proposed cap on tourist beds will mean very little if Ibiza Airport continues to post record figures so don’t expect any changes on this front anytime soon.

4. HÏ IBIZA IS A NEW BREED OF CLUB

The most anticipated event of the year saw a brand new, shiny super club that was custom built with a specific audience in mind, probably the first time that’s ever happened in Ibiza on this scale. The auditorium type design wasn’t to everybody’s taste but the reviews were mainly positive with a couple of nights getting rave reviews. Expect Hï to come back in 2018 with more big money signings and cement their position at the top table.

5. TASTES ARE CONTINUALLY CHANGING

The way Ibiza has changed over the last few years has taken many by surprise but it’s being driven by the people who come here rather than the other way round. For many years it meandered along in a hippy like trance offering decent value for money and cool nights open to all, now the craving for a short duration/VIP experience has seen a relentless surge upmarket focussing so much on disposable wealth that even Portinatx will soon to be declared a kid-free zone. Who’d have thought it!

6. DAYTIME IS STILL THE NEW NIGHTTIME

Back in the 90’s and 00’s there was just Space, DC-10 and Bora-Bora to get your daytime kicks whilst the majority of clubbers spent the day on the beach or in bed catching up on zzz’s after the previous evenings excesses. However, if you wind the clock back even further then you will see that Ku (now Privilege), Amnesia and Es Paradis all started out as daytime affairs with bare chested hulks and big chested babes. It’s history repeating as the masses now crave for daytime fun in the sun at places like Blue Marlin, Ocean Beach and Ushuaia and this won’t change unless the políticos want it to.

7. THE PROPERTY CRISIS SHOWS NO SIGN OF EASING

The simple economics of supply and demand has seen rental prices shoot up as Ibiza’s population has more than doubled in the last decade. Too many people want a piece of the Ibiza action pushing prices up while driving many away and scaring off a whole new generation of Ibiza lovers. Public sector workers can’t even afford to live on the island meaning there’s a staff shortage. Some say it’s greed while others point to the open market so for 300 days of sunshine every year and a quality of life like no other the Ibiza dream now comes at a high price.

8. IBIZA PARTY PEOPLE ARE GETTING OLDER

With the changing dynamics there’s been a definite shift in the demographic frequenting the White Isle. A whole new generation of potential ibiza-philes are being tempted by Croatia and other destinations offering sun, sea and good times at a fraction of the cost. In the short term it’s great that the 30-50 year olds bring their fat wallets to the island but many are concerned that their won’t be anyone to replace them when they hang up their dancing shoes.

9. SOME BALEARIC RESIDENTS DONT LIKE TOURISTS VERY MUCH

The Balearic backlash against the archipelago’s biggest (and only) commodity gathered pace in 2017 with street rallies and public meetings as unhappy residents voiced their concern over mass tourism. Privatised beaches in San Jose, public disorder in San Antonio and noise issues in Playa den Bossa have been debated in local bars on the island yet nobody can come up with a sustainable plan that makes any sense, never mind works. A ‘different type’ of tourism seems to be the collective desire whatever that means.

10. IBIZA 2018 WILL BE DIFFERENT BUT THE SAME

The squares on the board maybe placed a little differently but Ibiza will still attract those wanting fun, sunshine, food, culture, music, beautiful nature, friendly hospitality, and a geographically easy getaway. What they do when they get here will constantly evolve and that’s all part of the fun. Expect more political maneuverings in the build up to 2019 elections, more noise issues, more fall outs, more gossip, more A-Z listers and lots and lots more people. Ibiza……never boring, always interesting.

Ibiza 2017: Clubbing Review

2017 will be remembered as a strange year for many businesses on the White Isle and the club scene was no different. So who had a good season, and who didn’t?

In terms of clubs, Privilege and Eden were back on the Ibiza clubbing map after a few years in the doldrums. Many of the old Space backroom staff moved to Privilege and you could tell that their time, contacts and experience were injected into the place. The Carl Cox parties in July were the busiest the club has seen, eclipsing even Manumission, BBC Radio 1 and those Tiesto nights. Cox is still as popular as ever so by only playing two dates (at his own parties) ensured the nights would be a roadblock. Resistance did well too with Sasha and John Digweed and the roof lights in the main room were something else. The Afterlife parties (another ex-party from Space) and their combined closing party with the club definitely laid down a marker for the coming years.

Eden has finally recovered from being sold and the Gatecrasher fiasco, with the recovery starting last year, and Defected being the flagship party that will mean Eden can choose promoters to work with next year, rather than trying to find those that would take the risk. Well done to Defected Boss Simon Dunmore l for trusting in Eden, getting their DJs right and putting San Antonio club back into the mix.

Hi was the big news of the summer taking over the old Space premises in Playa d’en Bossa. Their line up pre season looked good, with a mix of DJs and music genres rather than the EDM that dominates their sister club, the daytime venue, Ushuaia. They certainly spent a lot of money over the winter totally transforming it into a more VIP focussed club, but did they forget that you need the dancefloor full, to create the atmosphere?

It would certainly appear so, as in June and even into July, they were giving away wristbands for entry and it took them longer to establish their identity and brand. Armin Van Buuren’s night and Glitterbox looked like the only two nights where both rooms were working well, and I’m sure the owners will look at how to get the club room working next year. For such a new club, and with so much hype, if you ask for most people’s favourite part of the club, most will tell you it’s the Wild Corner, where they have DJs in the toilets. A small, intimate room, where dancing is the focus, there is no VIP in there. From an outside perspective, it looks like the DJs are happy to take the money to play there, but this year the club lacked soul and substance, and it will probably take 3 years to get that credibility, and their programming right.

Amnesia had a good year, especially when you consider all the problems they had last year with the tax inspector raids and the licensing issues after the Music On, Coccon and Hyte parties regularly over ran during the season, rather than closing on time. Elrow was the biggest party, and continued their Ibiza and global domination as the best party in the world. The production is another level, their only problem now, is that they are in fashion, there is so much going on, and so many of the punters are on their phones recording it all, rather than engaging with the party and the music.

DC10 is still the best club on the island musically and thankfully over the last 3 years the club has become a much safer clubbing environment, while still keeping it’s authenticity as the place with the true Ibiza spirit and sound. Circoloco, Paradise and Wild Life were all successful and busy.

Pacha had another solid season and Hot Since 82’s new Friday night residency was the only new party, and performed well. There was no evidence of the new owners for those on the dancefloor, so it will be interesting to see if they start to influence things in 2018. FMIF and Solomun were the two nights that were sold out every week, with completely contrasting styles of music. With 3 French DJ heading up their own nights, it will be interesting to see if one of those nights changes next year.

Sankeys had a decent year with a good music policy and atmosphere, Redlight, Abode and Do Not Sleep all performing well with their usual crowds. Having seen Hi have to adapt their music on a couple of nights, it looked like they were targeting the Sankeys crowd on their more underground nights of In the Dark and Black Coffee.

Ushuaia will be worrying about where the mainstream music scene is going next year. Ushuaia’s current business model relies on big DJ wages for artists that will pack in 10,000 people to the club. Guetta and Garrix seem untouchable, and are pop stars, but several of the other nights were hit or miss this year and it will have been the VIP tables, rather than the crowds, that covered the wages. If EDM is finally on the wane, then they have to find other genres and DJs who will pack the club and their music will lend itself to the big stage production they can offer. Certainly Tinie Tempah works (and worked a longer season than the EDM guys) and confirmed that UK Garage and the urban genres are on the rise again.

Other worthy mentions need to go to Ocean Beach, which is firmly on the aspiration list for the San An/ reality TV/ Instagram crowd, and the parties and day parties are stronger every year. The Acid Sundays and Wax da Jam parties at Las Dalias are well worth a visit. Children of the 80s seemed to have another good season after changing to Fridays. . Woomoon at Cova Santa was something completely different and certainly worth a vistit, although will it be back in 2018 after Cova Santa operating outside of their license? Pete Tong’s Sundays at Blue Marlin seemed a good fit for the venue and the artist. Ibiza Rocks’s pool parties seemed to go down well this year, with Craig David having another ridiculous summer. It’s a real shame Andy McKay doesn’t feel he can do live music at the hotel anymore and shows the politics and regulations that are in operation on the island.

The main observation of this summer, is that the crowds have changed dramatically in the last few years. Ibiza use to be for dance music fans. Clubbers came to see a whole range of DJ’s and parties during their weeks holiday, and listen to music they wouldn’t necessarily hear at home. The island has luckily been in fashion during the global recession, and with the tourism problems in Turkey, Greece, Egypt and Tunisia, Spain and Ibiza has had a bumper few summers.

Looking forward the problem Ibiza may have is that when those markets open back up again and dance music goes out of main stream fashion. The island is not nurturing the new Young fans who have been coming for 5-10 years, and has probably put them off coming back with the commercial music, over pricing and crowded roads, beaches and resorts. Those people who have been crying out for less tourism might be about to get what they wished for.

Many thanks to ‘The Clubbing Insider’ who helped me with this article

San Antonio’s West End set for More Noise ‘Protection’

In news that could greatly affect San Antonio’s famous West End, the area will now be declared a ‘Zone of Special Acoustic Protection’ (ZPAE) after the local government decided to act after receiving the results of new acoustic studies carried out over summer.

The studies showed that over the summer the legal maximum noise levels were exceeded in 4 of the 5 measuring stations reaching up to 85.9 decibels, 20 decibels higher than allowed. The measurements carried out in 2017 support what was already detected in 2016, when a first study was carried out to develop a noise map which indicated the main sources of noise pollution in the town centre.

San Antonio town hall started the process in February 2017 and with measurements carried out this summer in two areas of the urban center (sa Punta des Molí and West End) have determined that there is sufficient reason to proceed with the declaration of a ‘Special Zone of Acoustic Protection’.

A ZPAE is an area where there are ‘high noise levels due to the existence of numerous recreational activities, public establishments, the activity of the people who use them, traffic noise as well as any other activity of a permanent nature that affects the saturation of the sound level of the zone even when each activity, individually considered, complies with the levels established by law’.

More importantly the ZPAE declaration allows the local lawmakers to increase the corrective measures aimed at alleviating the existing noise saturation. The municipal technicians will now study what measures are to be implemented in order for them to be approved in the coming months.

Once the ZPAE declaration has been carried out, annual measurements will then be made to determine the impact of the new measures taken and how the protection zone evolves. The corrective actions can then be lowered or intensified annually based on the data collected.

Once approved, the ZPAE can not be lifted until the acoustic quality objectives set by the regulations are reached: 65 dB during the day and 55 at night.

San An’s Mayor José Tur said “All the studies conducted over the last two years indicate that the limits have been exceeded. We cannot ignore this and therefore we have to establish the mechanisms to return the area to a normal situation”.

Environment councillor Pablo Valdés, believes that the declaration of ZPAE “can and should mark a turning point in the municipality.”

Sr Valdés continued “We will try to recover the coexistence and to deal with the noise that caused the depopulation of the urban center, linked to the alterations of the public order and generating a perception of the current tourist model as a hostile activity.”

Source: Periodico de Ibiza