Ibiza’s Winter Tourism Conundrum

  
As our island politicians return from an all-expenses paid trip to London’s World Travel Market the topic of winter tourism has raised its head yet again. 

This has been exasperated by the warm autumn weather that has seen Ibiza reach temperatures of up to 30 degrees in the sun and also the Sharm el-Sheikh tragedy that saw a jetliner bought down (apparently by a bomb) with a large loss of innocent lives. This tragedy along with the Tunisian lone gunman has seen traditional North African destinations become almost no-go zones for tourists leaving the travel market looking for more short haul options for winter destinations.

Even though the opportunity is right in front of us the commercial and political will of the Island suggests that despite the posturing our leaders are content with the status quo of busy summers followed by very quiet winters that allows for a great quality of life. Put simply, they earn enough in the summer so don’t need to open in the winter.

For those not in a privileged position, Ibiza’s unemployment queues get longer in the winter so why can’t the money spent on stemming the flow of poverty be used for creating jobs? The current situation sees many families on the breadline by January. Surely better to invest in people than effectively pay them to do nothing. 

On the island itself the subject of winter tourism is very polarizing with many wanting to carry on with the traditional 6 months on/6 months off and others moaning about the lack of work opportunities.

Those that denounce the idea of winter tourism saying such things as the island ‘needs a rest’ and ‘we love the peace and quiet in the winter’ obviously know very little about it as it’s completely different to the summer with an older more discerning tourism showing interest in local culture and society. 
Many miss the fact that Ibiza is already open for winter tourism but it isn’t doing it very well.
As a destination the island has a whole range of activities from cycling to walking to gastronomy to sightseeing to yoga to relaxing at spas: the spectrum is huge.

Most towns on the island have activities every weekend which are inclusive and fun yet they don’t seem able to advertise and get the message out there to anyone apart from an inner circle who seem to know everything. It’s all very last minute and tourism doesn’t work like that nowadays with forward planning needed to take advantage of lead-in prices.

 
Air Europa and Vueling have more flights, BA now operate a successful program of daily winter flights from London and Ryanair are opening an Ibiza base in March 2016 so as things are looking very rosy for an increased number of winter connections now would appear to be the time to push on. 

Ibiza in winter has the climate, it has the product and it has the location so we urgently need to to extend the tourist season not by making into a Benidorm or a December into August but by making March and November similar to April and October. The problem is that to do that the Island has to be open for business on a bigger and better scale and that right there is the biggest challenge. 

Ibiza Clubs: Then and Now – Guest Blog by Danny Whittle

Danny Whittle: Then and Now

Before I get into detail let me say a few things; yes my grammar is s**t, yes my spelling is s**t and yes I don’t pretend to know it all, so anyone who wants to post about any of those things you have been pre-empted so you don’t need to waste your time, I know all these things already. So last week I decided to respond to a post about the Ibiza clubs closing times, the feedback was pretty amazing but at the same time I believe there are many people posting on social media without past knowledge of certain situations or at the very least a misunderstanding of the balance of this great little island.

I first arrived here to work (I had been on holiday before) in 1995, it could have been 96 but I’m not going to research it as that’s boring. Either way I was doing ‘Renaissance at Ku’ with Manumission. The year after we did Pacha every Wednesday.

The period of 1996 to 2000 is what many people claim to be the ‘Golden Years’. Let me add that in 1998 I moved to running Ministry of Sound at Pacha on Fridays and in 1999 I started the first 22 hour party at Space on Sundays with Darren Hughes, Home@ Space, I’m sure some of you remember it, it was a great party and just got stronger all summer. Pepe and Fritz gave me a beautiful watch as a thank you. I think it was these parties that convinced Space to move from being a daytime club to a night time club, I suspect that happened because as an after hours they were not making the kind of money they could make as a night time venue, this and being forced to put a roof on the famous terrace didn’t help either.

The following January I was offered a full time job at Pacha to run the content side of the club across the week.  I did this for 13 years and I don’t think I’m bragging when I say we did well and Pacha grew from a club that was only busy 2 nights a week to one that was busy for 7 nights a week. Anyway enough about me I just wanted to lay some history down.

  
So 18 years ago most of Ibiza’s clubs only had 1 or 2 nights that were doing great things.

Pacha had Ministry of Sound packing them in and also Renaissance that was probably the most underground thing in any of the big clubs doing ok but hanging on by their nails as there was not a big demand for it, believe it or not Ibiza was never that underground then.

Amnesia had Cream and maybe La Troya or Matinee were doing OK but other than that nothing to write home about. Ku/Privilege were doing Manumission and not much else in the big scheme of things but Manumission was as big as two nights in any other club.

Space had the amazing ‘Space on Sundays’ and the Manumission ‘Carry On’ which, lets be honest, was never about making money but was an incredible party.  Eden had Judge Jules and maybe another good thing but I can’t remember.  Es Paradis had the powerful ‘Clockwork Orange’ and again maybe another thing.

 DC10 at that point didn’t exist, so how lucky are we now that it does.  Sankeys also didn’t exist and yet now they have a good crowd most nights.

But essentially all the clubs had 2 good nights and the rest of the nights were mostly pretty average. Please excuse me if I can’t remember your night especially if it was good but I am trying to give a general overview of the way things were.

For after parties we had the amazing Zenith parties that Roberto and Ernesto did near the airport, they were soon stopped but it’s amazing that 20 years later the same boys are now running what is arguably the biggest night on the island with ‘Music On’, well deserved too.  We also had Escollera, which was amazing and Bora bora that was also flying.

We also had Space open every morning but was not that busy as there was not much demand except on the aforementioned 2 days when it was life changing for the people there.

Most of the other after parties were people putting on villa parties with wigs and fancy dress and nobody was blaming the clubs for closing too early. They just made their own entertainment and it was almost always amazing.

Also there were at that time some great bars like the Rock Bar and Base Bar and many others that worked perfectly and co-existed with the clubs and yet the opening and closing times were pretty much the same as they are now.

What really destroyed the Ibiza Town bars over the last 10 years was the lack of parking and that ugly glass wall, that they have at last put right, and I have to say its now once again a beautiful place to be. I believe the bars along the port should all throw 200 euros each into a pot and do a great marketing campaign through the right magazines and online to promote just how great the bars are in the port.  Now lets move 18 years into the future.

Amnesia works pretty much 7 nights a week, some busier than others and their weekly programming is kind of genre busting, going from Paris Hilton to Marco Carola, Cream to Cocoon and everything in between. That’s how you make a club work 7 nights a week, brilliant programming.

Pacha, again working almost 7 nights a week going from Steve Aoki to Solomun. Again great programming,

Space has some amazing parties with Carl and Richie, El Row and Luciano, although it’s a shame ‘We Love’ didn’t host Sundays alongside Luciano, but that’s just my opinion.

DC10 is amazing, a game changer for Ibiza but at the same time only open 2 nights a week (3 in August) which just goes to show that if you’re not prepared to host different genres its difficult to operate 7 nights a week and we all know DC10 will never compromise on cool and that’s cool too.

Sankeys, opened 4 years ago and managed to pull off what most people would never even try. It’s hard enough to make one night a week work in Ibiza for outside promoters, but to make a nightclub work all week even if some nights are quiet will only have admiration from me.

Zoo project, amazing venue that do great parties. Privilege have SuperMartxe, which by all accounts is really big, I think there are a couple of other nights that are good also however this is the most disappointing venue for me, their potential is incredible and I have my ideas of how this can work but I’m not going to voice them here. After all I have a job.

Eden & Es Paradis, well this is more complicated. I just feel having 2 nightclubs directly across the road from each other was only going to lead to disaster. It’s all about critical mass and once the clubs compete so much that both clubs stop working to a certain level then the clients go elsewhere – Amnesia, Pacha, Ushuaia whatever but basically those 2 clubs cancelled each other out, at that point it also effects San Antonio town. The 2 clubs can’t compete so the punters go to where the content is.

Ocean Beach and Ibiza Rocks, which we also didn’t have 20 years ago, and bars like Mambo and Plastik show that business done properly in San An can work. So in my opinion the owners of Eden and Es Paradis should come together, knock down one of the clubs and build a really cool hotel and a really cool club and split the business (and if they cant afford it get an investor). 33 % of something great will always be better than 100 % of something not working.

Also as we are talking about San An, I have always been a fan, it’s the gateway to Ibiza for young kids and they fall in love with San An and then move on around the island. We have an incredible return of service in Ibiza. I had a young lady working for me in 1998 as a flyerer in San An, she still comes here all these years later and she’s now a Professor of skin cancer at Kings College or somewhere yet still her love affair with Ibiza remains, that’s the power of San An and the power of Ibiza’s attraction.

So I think all the big clubs should support San An and allow, if not insist, that each of their big name DJ’s should do one show a summer in San Antonio, not just a pre-party to help fill their own clubs, but a proper gig in a proper club. That’s about 20 big dates in San An for the right club, we just need the right club, but that will take creativity, which is what Ibiza runs on. Why would the other clubs do that I hear you ask, well because they know ultimately all those people will end up coming to them at a later date anyway, even if it was a year later. It’s all about keeping that youthful gateway open for the island.  Ushuaia is the best thing that has happened to Ibiza in the last ten years. Amazing parties and amazing marketing not only for themselves but also for Ibiza. Even if you don’t like it you can’t deny the strength it brings to the island. Creative and smart. Don’t talk to me about it being only commercial, go to Ants on Saturday or a La Familia party with Nick and Joris, it reminds me of the Space terrace 18 years ago!

Beach Bars, lets talk about them, never really had them 18 years ago, Blue Marlin, amazing, I remember partying with Yela (the owner of Blue Marlin) many years ago at Escollera, that guy has lived it and grafted it, he deserves his success, Jonathan and Olivia with Chiringuito at Es Cavallet and Beachouse in Bossa again deserve their success, Dave Piccioni with Amante, and so many more that we never had before are all doing great things on the island.

The boat parties is a a relatively new concept but people love them and they should exist, they need to be safe and legal but at the same time they are a great addition to Ibiza options.

VIPS, I hate the name. I don’t think they are VIPs they are just a different type of client and to be honest a lot of them are the people who came here during the so called ‘Golden Years’ it’s just now they are not 20 years old anymore they are 38 years old and prefer to have a table. Just because someone has a credit card doesn’t mean they can’t like music and clubbing and its clear that some of the biggest underground nights also have the biggest table clients. In the end the tables are empty unless the dancefloor is full so it’s still all about the dancefloor.

So to finish I just want to say that Ibiza is stronger than ever, with much more on offer. To me the ‘Golden Years’ were more about me being 20 years younger. I see just as many smiles on faces now as I did back then. With regards to the competition between clubs, bars, beach bars, boat parties, hotel venues and so on, well the reality is no matter what your business is if you run it well with good content, good marketing, good customer service you will do well. Nobody should blame other businesses if theirs isn’t working correctly. Also Ibiza summer now starts the end of May and finishes beginning of October, so about a month longer than 18 years ago.

So for me Ibiza even with its faults is better than ever and all the changes, well that’s what Ibiza should be about, it has to be fluid, it has to reinvent every now and again to keep it fresh.


Danny Whittle lives and works in Ibiza. He is a Director at IBZ Entertainment, one of the largest programmers and bookers of artists for nightclubs, events and festivals both in Ibiza and worldwide. He is also one of the founding partners/organisers of the annual ‘International Music Summit (IMS)’ in Ibiza, Los Angeles, Singapore and Shanghai.

Ibiza Authorities Agree on Club Closing Times

Ibiza Town Mayor Rafa Ruiz (PSOE) and President of the Consell Vicent Torres (pic:Nou Diari)

Vicent Torres, President of ibiza’s Island Council, and the 5 mayors of the different municipalities  have come together to put in place an agreement on the closing times for clubs and music bars across the island that will come into force before next summer. 

Big Clubs such as Amnesia, Privilege, Pacha, DC10, Space and Sankeys will now have to be closed by 6.30am whilst music bars (known locally as cafe concierto’s) must be closed by 5am. 

The new local laws will have wide ranging effects not least in Ibiza Town where music bars have historically stayed open until 6.30am. There will be no real change in San Antonio which has  already operated under a 5am licence for music bars (AND cafe concierto’s) over the last 2 summers.

It was also announced that if any establishments willingly break the law then the authorities “will impose sanctions that are commensurate with the offence committed, especially repeat offenders”. This last comment  from Torres was aimed squarely at Amnesia which closed late over the past summer on no fewer than 15 occasions including a massive 7 hours late for their closing party. Torres went on to say that closure orders could be imposed. 

This agreement will not be received too well by the nocturnal business people of the island who feel they have been squeezed over the last few years plus it will be a blow to Ibiza’s reputation as a party island especially with other destinations knocking on the door.  However some residents and other pressure groups will be relieved that there has been stricter rules bought in to minimise noise and traffic. 

Only time will tell whether these new laws will be strongly enforced but in the meantime the mud slinging still hasn’t stopped with clubs and beach clubs consistently accusing each other of illegalities. As always it’s never dull on the white isle. 

Source: Diario de Ibiza, Nou Diari, El Periodico

Simply Ibiza – 10 Amazing Places to See (and most won’t cost you a penny)

The glorious White Isle means many things to many people but it’s not all about the nightlife. Here’s 10 incredible places that are well worth visiting (especially out of season) and the good news is that most of them won’t cost you a penny.  Invest your time and energy in Ibiza and it will pay you back many times over. 

1. ES VEDRA

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Simply spellbinding looking out to the magical rock protruding from the south west of the island.  Said to be one of the most spiritual places in the world this amazing 413m high mass of mesozoic limestone never fails to take your breath away and has been known to reduce adults to tears. Watch out for the purple goats too.

2. ATLANTIS

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Close to Vedra down a steep incline is the mythical ‘Atlantis’ literally carved into a small deep bay. Once used as a quarry to farm the stones to build the walls of Ibiza Town now the amazing rock formations seem perfectly carved to create a mesmerizing spot to sit and chill in the cool winds in front of the turquoise blue sea.  Even though it’s not signposted many people find their way there every day and bask in it’s spiritual glory. Save some energy for the walk back though!

3. SA TALAIA


475 metres above sea level, close to the village of San Jose is the highest point of the island. It’s definitely worth the effort,  go to the top and you can see the whole island beneath you, only then do you realize exactly how small the white isle is. You will also find a solemn memorial with all the names of the people who perished in Ibiza’s biggest air disaster on 7 Jan 1972 when flight 602 crashed into Sa Talaia with 98 passengers and 6 crew aboard, there were no survivors. More info here

4. THE BENIRRAS FINGER


Sitting majestically in the middle of Benirras bay in the north east of the island is a giant rock that points up from the sea that the locals refer to as “God’s Finger”. The real magic of Benirras begins around half an hour before sunset when hippy drummers appear almost out of nowhere and begin to bang their drums. This famous beach is a magnet for free spirit and the finger is it’s emblem.

5. DON PEDRO WRECK DIVE

 
At 2:30am on the 11th of July 2007 just after leaving the harbour, a clueless cargo ferry captain crashed into the reef of the ‘Dado Pequeño’ (Little Dice) islet and unwittingly created not just an environmental nightmare but also one of the biggest and best dive sites in Europe. The helpless vessel sank within 30 minutes (with no loss of life) and is now located less then 50 meters below sea level and measures 142 meters long.  Fauna and flora have gradually covered the wreck making it more spectacular every year and earning it the diving nickname ‘Jewel of the Med’.  (Organised excursion with Dive Centre essential)

6. SAN MIGUEL CAVES


The underground caverns of the Cueva Can Marça in Puerto San Miguel are eerily silent and illuminated in strange colours, the formations of stalagmites and stalactites make a weird backdrop to a tour of the cavernous galleries.  Originally used by smugglers to store contraband, the marks they used to guide them in the dead of night can still be seen on the walls. Visitors also get to see the magnificent views out to sea from openings hewn into the cliff side. (Entrance fee applicable)

7. LAS SALINAS SALT FLATS


Drive as far south as you can and you come to a arrowhead with Las Salinas beach on the west side and Es Cavallet beach on the east. Directly above this are the famous salt flats that for over two thousand years has given the island one of its greatest treasures. The salt gathered from the combination of sea and sun was a source of work and food for many of the island’s inhabitants over the years and Ibiza’s “white gold” is considered one of the worlds’ finest varieties of salt. The salt flats are a surreal, spectacular vista especially when the wild flamingoes come and visit.

8. PUNTA GALERA ROCKS

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Follows the signs to Cap Negret and join the other walkers heading down to this secret sunbathing hideaway and you will be rewarded with amazing views and crystal clear waters. The rock formation makes it easy to rest and take in the sun rays but make sure you arrive early as it can get busy. Popular with nudists if you want to get an all over tan.

9. D’ALT VILA – IBIZA OLD TOWN

 
The soul of the island sits proudly atop the capital like a protective mother watching over her flock. The walled town dates back to a bygone age when Ibiza was constantly invaded and is still magnificently preserved in this UNESCO world heritage site. Forget the clubs for a day as you really haven’t experienced Ibiza until you’ve walked around Dalt V’ila and immersed yourself in the history and passion of the White Isle.

10. SUNSET AT SES VARIADES

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One of the biggest and best free shows in the world as day to turns to night and thousands witness one of the most stunning sunsets on earth. Sit on the rocks with a can of beer or treat yourself to a VIP table at the world famous Cafe Mambo, the atmosphere at sundown is simply electric. Don’t forget to clap.

Do you agree? Have I missed anything? Don’t hesitate to let me know via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. 
  

Testing Times as Ibiza Taxi Drivers Stage Protest 

  

The illegal transport issues reached a head yesterday as over 150 taxi divers and their cars blocked off many parts of Ibiza Town in protest about the increased level of pirate taxis on the island and the lack of control from the island government. The taxi drivers met up outside the Consell (government building) sounding their horns until President Vicent Torres came down for a face to face talk where he heard 1st hand about their concerns.

Pirate taxi transport has steadily grown from an underground business to blatant harassment especially at Ibiza airport where flight arrivals are met by men touting their services even before the clients have stepped foot outside the terminal building. I witnessed this myself last week as I was accosted by over 10 pirates with an air of menace immediately after stepping through the electric doors in arrivals.

This situation has been allowed to gain momentum without control and now the taxi drivers have had enough but the simple fact is that there aren’t enough legal taxis to cope with the demand especially during the main peak weeks so it’s easy money for the ‘pirates’ with long taxi queues awaiting passengers at the airport. You can’t blame tourists for taking the easy option and paying a little more rather than wait in the taxi queue for an hour. There is also serious questions over the service from some legal taxi drivers which is less than exemplary, cherry picking who they take and making up their own rules along the way and being a speeding nuisance on the roads. 

The lethargy in dealing with pirate taxis is also mirrored in the same way that the street sellers are dealt with. These men wander around harassing tourists and forcing their goods on them, it’s out of control yet the local councils don’t seem too concerned so while the Balearic government is preparing to tax tourists, our greatest commodity, they seem unwilling to tackle the day to day problems that the island faces.

The usual excuses for this lethargy are that the law doesn’t allow local authorities to be effective, the people arrested have no money to pay the fines and they know how to ‘play the system’.   Yet local governments seem to be able to change the law in respect of certain things such as closing times where legal businesses are affected so why can’t they tackle blatant illegal businesses that don’t pay a penny in tax? Illegal taxi’s, ticket sellers, street hawkers and prostitutes are operating on the island because they are allowed to do so and we are diminishing our core product because it’s getting out of control.

Fellow blogger Danny Kay in his excellent recent piece said “Why is it that in Dublin or London there are no Looky Looky men, illegal PRs, prostitutes or drug dealers accosting tourists in Temple Bar or Trafalgar Square? Because they are not allowed. It is illegal for them to be there and they would be locked up if they tried it” A simple philosophy but something that may be the only way forward for the white isle.
In the changing political climate now would be a good time for the coalition island president Vicent Torres, Vice President Viviana de Sans and their team to face up to a few home truths, apply a zero tolerance policy and clean up our island once and for all or the wrong type of headlines will only get worse. A few more taxis on the road might be a good idea too. 

An Idiot’s Guide to Ibiza Politics

It’s been a busy year so far for the local politicians on the White Isle and it’s just about to get a whole lot busier – whoever said politics is boring obviously wasn’t referring to Ibiza.

After the May elections it’s Spanish tradition to give new local governments a 100 day grace period but that time is now coming to an end so buckle up and expect plenty of mudslinging as the gloves come off and island politics gets a little tasty again. Having been involved in the last election campaign and having been referred to as an idiot on more than one occasion here’s my own unique overview of how the island currently stands after the euphoria and disappointment of the elections followed by the June inaugurations.

* denotes incumbent ruling party/parties

CONSELL INSULAR (IBIZA ISLAND COUNCIL)
IN: Vicent Torres (PSOE) – OUT: Vicent Serra (PP)
Popular Party: 6 seats
PSOE*: 4 seats
Podemos*: 3 seats

Vicent Torres

Points of Order
: The socialist PSOE party and left wing Podemos finally joined forces after some protracted and fractious negotiations to oust PP President Vicent Serra.  PSOE’s Vicent Torres became island president whilst Serra resigned as president of the PP taking the blame personally for his party’s poor election results. He will carry on as opposition leader in the council but has been replaced as President by Jose Vicente Mari Boso.

Any Other Business: New president Vicent Torres speaks perfect English and is a former Director General for Balearic tourism and was the person who signed the winter flights agreement with Ryanair back in 2007. Torres will also oversee tourism whilst Podemos leader and Vice President Viviana de Sans will be in charge transparency, participation, good governance and employment/training.

Chance of Success: 6/10 – Torres is a good man but this well meaning coalition could flounder if Podemos decide to throw their toys out of pram.

EIVISSA (IBIZA TOWN)
IN: Rafael Ruiz (PSOE) – OUT: Virginia Mari (PP)
Popular Party: 8 seats
PSOE*: 8 seats
Guanyem*: 4 seats
MC Epic: 1 seat

Rafael Ruiz

Points of Order
: Rafa Ruiz of PSOE and Joan Ribas of left wing ‘Guanyem’ got up close and personal to get rid of PP Mayor Virginia Mari promising to restart the many projects that were mothballed by the previous administration.

Any Other Business: The previous PP led council had been mired in scandal and had no fewer than 3 Mayors during it’s 4 year administration. Marienna Sánchez-Jáuregui resigned after 2 years due to an ‘irregular payments’ scandal then Pilar Mari was forced out after sending insulting text messages. Virginia Mari was the 3rd Mayor but her tenure lasted less than 10 months.

Chance of success: 7/10 – The new government will appeal to Ibiza Town’s multi cultural electorate and in any case can’t be worse than the previous fiasco, can they?

SANT ANTONI DE PORTMANY
IN: Jose Tur (PSOE) – OUT: Pepita Gutierrez (PP)
Popular Party: 8 seats
PSOE*: 6 seats
Reinicia*: 4 seats
El PI*: 3 seats

Juanjo Ferrer, Jose Tur, Pablo Valdes

Points of Order
: The white isle’s 2nd largest town saw a cataclysmic shift as the smaller parties buddied up to form a 3 party coalition to remove the PP for the 1st time ever. Jose Tur (aka Pep Cires) became Mayor with Pablo Valdes (Reinicia) becoming deputy Mayor and Juan Jose Ferrer (El PI) as 2nd deputy mayor. The biggest shock here was the new people’s party ‘Reinicia’ who came from nowhere to claim 4 seats using strong rhetoric and propaganda mainly through social media.

Any Other Buisness: Previous Mayor Pepita Gutierrez was de-selected by her own party causing a split in the ranks from which the party never recovered. Ex bank chief and new mayor Jose Tur Pep Cires is technically retired and doesn’t take a salary as he already receives a pension.

Chance of Success: 6/10 – rising star Pablo Valdes of Reinicia is one to watch for the future but may be dragged down by internal conflicts. Lots of potential surprises in store especially in years 3 & 4.

SANTA EULARIA DES RIU
NO CHANGE: Vicent Mari (PP)
Popular Party*: 12 seats
PSOE: 5 seats
Guanyem: 4 seats

Vicent Mari


Points of Order: Ibiza’s sweet seaside town saw PP Mayor Vicent Mari re-elected for his 3rd straight term but this time with a lower majority. Although he said he wouldn’t run in 2015 he was ‘persuaded’ to change his mind and promised to keep on working hard and take up the challenge of the ‘second revolution of tourism’ (whatever that means).

Any Other Business: Talamanca, Jesus and Can Furnet might be overlooking Ibiza Town but all are in the municipality of Santa Eulalia.

Chance of success: 9/10 – this staunchly conservative municipality may struggle to work with the socialist island government but should consolidate their position as Ibiza’s most pleasant tourist resort.

SANT JOSEP DE SA TALAIA
IN: Josep Mari Ribas – Out: Neus Mari Mari
PSOE*: 9 seats
Popular Party: 6 seats
Guanyem*: 4 seats
Alternativa Insular: 2 seats

Jose Mari Ribas

Points of Order
: PSOE and Guanyem joined together to make Josep Mari Ribas (aka Agustinet) mayor once more. It was a sweet victory for Agustinet after a motion of censure removed him from the Mayors office in December 2011 when the PP and the ‘Alternativa Insular’ party ganged up and outed him.

Any Other Buisness: San Jose Town Hall has been bogged down for many years with court cases and corruption claims. Agustinet has promised to address issues of public transport, noise pollution (especially beach bars/clubs) and water distribution over the next 4 years.

Chance of Success: 6/10 – Agustinet will want to settle scores from 2011 so expect some fireworks. Never a dull moment in Sant Josep and there could be major headlines from the municipality regarding beach clubs.

SANT JOAN DE LABRITJA
NO CHANGE: Antonio Mari (PP)

Popular Party*: 9 seats
PSOE: 2 seats
Guanyem: 1 seat
MEC: 1 seat

Antonio Mari

Points of Order
: Sleepy northern municipality Sant Joan is about a safe a seat as you could wish for with Antonio Mari Mari (known locally as ‘Carraca’) being returned for a 5th straight victory. He has promised to maintain the municipality as a quality touristic destination but also concentrate on local issues such as transport and sporting infrastructure.

Any Other Business: Sant Joan has only 3500 registered voters making it the smallest municipality in terms of voters, it also has the largest Romanian population who take their voting responsibility very seriously.  The surname ‘Mari’ features in 8 of the 13 PP councillors names.

Chance of success: 10/10 – ‘Carraca’ to continue his strong leadership over the north of the island with his bull terrier attitude. He knows that the north is the relatively untouched gem of the island so cross him at your peril.

I know it’s not Ibiza but also let’s not forget…..

FORMENTERA
NO CHANGE: Jaume Ferrer (GxF)

GxF* (People for Formentera): 9 seats
Popular Party: 4 seats
PSOE: 2 seats
CompromisFormentera: 2 seats

Jaume Ferrer

Points of Order
: Formentera continued to be the only municipality in the archipelago that is ruled by it’s own autonomous party, shrugging off interference from outside and returning Jaume Ferrer again as it’s leader but now with his own majority. The 4th Balearic island continues to be a world class destination with its feet firmly in the eco-friendly camp. A shining light in local politics that, strangely, nobody else seems to want to replicate.

Any Other Business: Most of the candidates and parties share a common goal and cross party agreement is quite normal only arguing over the detail.

Chance of success: 9/10 – Formentera hearts and souls are firmly fixed inwards rather than to Ibiza, Palma or Madrid. The jewel of the Med continues to shine bright with it’s own autonomy.

So there you have my personal overview of where the island currently stands but there will be plenty of twists and turns ahead so expect daily headlines with accusations and counter accusations from all the usual suspects, smoke screens and mirrors and even the occasional agreement. Ibiza is many things but it is never dull and that is also reflected in the corridors of power. We are watching!

Ibiza Weekend Offender: The Changing Face of Tourism

As the sun finally sets on another busy August, Ibiza now has only 8 more weeks of ‘summer’ tourism until it’s time to batten down the hatches, count the pennies and relax as international tourism goes into standby mode for almost 5 months.

While the blue chip businesses have reported record numbers, others are talking of a steep decline in takings. There appears to be a big swing in fortunes which has taken many by surprise but times are changing and not least the profile of the ‘tourists’ that now grace the white isle.

Ever since the ‘low cost’ carriers began flying into Ibiza nearly 15 years ago the type of tourist has been gradually changing and now the cycle is almost complete.  The traditional 7, 10 and 14 night family package holiday is now exclusively reserved for school holidays – 1 week in May/1 week in October/6 weeks in August – so out of the 26 week ‘summer’ season there are 18 weeks where families with kids don’t come into the equation. For June, July and September Ibiza still relies on it’s traditional 18-35 market and then a slightly more mature market in May and October.

All this has given rise to the Ibiza Weekend Offender – those who are cash rich but time poor, those who pack 7 days of action into a 3 or 4 night stay, those who view a weekend in Ibiza in the same way they view a festival, those who don’t come on holiday but have a ‘weekend away’ so only need hand luggage and most importantly those who spend the same amount of money in 3 days as they would in 7.

The official government figures back this up, the average stay in Ibiza for 2015 is as follows:

Jul:  5.45 nights per person
Jun:  5.30
May:  4.79
Apr:  5.03
Mar:  4.46
Feb:  3.67

On closer inspection the average stay has been in free fall since 2008 and we can only presume this will continue as the world gets smaller. The figures suggest that we all want to travel more, to find new and exciting destinations but we also don’t want to miss out on our annual “Ibiza Fix”.  So the new profile of Ibiza tourist will now come over for a long weekend and because time is so precious the result is an overly organized trip where the same 4 or 5 venues are visited leaving no time to discover any of the other magnificent places that Ibiza has to offer.  Unfortunately spontaneity is almost extinct for the Ibiza Weekend Offender who lives on social media.

In fact for some the thought of 7 nights on the White Isle is now almost unthinkable, mainly because their health and wallet couldn’t take the pressure so weekend traffic is considerably higher than during the week. It had to happen sometime – Ibiza has grown up, it sleeps during the week and parties at the weekends.

The challenge to local business is how do you convert the near 7 million arrivals into profit as the juxtaposition is that as Ibiza becomes ever more popular it’s the same places that continue to succeed and it’s nothing more sinister than a genuine lack of time for an Ibiza Weekender Offender who can only cram in so much partying and selfies into 72 hours. So instead of seeing the beauty of the island it’s flash hotel rooms, pool parties and super clubs. Sounds great if you are in Las Vegas but surely not if you are on one of the most beautiful islands of the world.

So the good news is that Ibiza is at the top of it’s game but the not so good news is that certain sectors aren’t getting their traditional piece of the pie and don’t seem able to react accordingly. Meanwhile the top end gets more exclusive/expensive as the demand grows and the bottom end continues to cater for those who want the experience but not the cost. The bad news is that the middle market again gets squeezed out and when it comes to tourism that’s where the money is for the normal day to day businesses on the island.