That’s All Folks… what’s the plan?

The tourist summer is over, it was ‘fun’ while it lasted if a little stressful. Many are becrying that it only lasted for 2 months whereas others (including me) are thankful that we had anything at all. If you’d have offered me 2 months when locked inside my house in April I would have broken your arm off.

Some businesses took the easy route and stayed closed while others chanced their arm and took a punt. Well done to those who tried their best to make it work against a background of political shenanigans that made swimming against the tide in shark infested waters look relatively easy.

The business owners who did open soon realised that they weren’t in control bringing on a rollercoaster of emotions and just when we thought things were improving, some chinless wonder in a London office made decisions based on dubious science that affected everything. The UK quarantine guidelines at the end of July effectively ended the summer season for many. After everything the island had been thorough it was a bitter pill to swallow.

In recent weeks Ibiza has seen a spike in infections. It’s gone from low numbers to what on the face of it seems an alarming rise however when you scratch away at the surface a pattern is forming. A new PCR testing regime has seen a spate of new infections but well over 90% of these have been classed as ‘light’ or asymptomatic (where the person is showing no symptoms and doesn’t even realise they have the virus). This is a new era of Covid: infections up, death rates down.

Hospital admissions in Ibiza are up and down because many don’t have anywhere to safely isolate so stay in hospital until receiving the all clear – so these numbers can be misleading too. Like many countries the virus in Ibiza is now mainly being transmitted by the under 40’s who work or live together but who can also shake it off easily with a spell indoors and a box set for company. The focus is to protect the vulnerable but that has always been the case especially during winter and flu season.

So the reality of the situation is that on an island with an approximate population of 150,000 (135K official) we are talking about less than 30 ‘serious’ cases of Covid. Tragically there have been 14 deaths but again, when you scratch the surface, all but one had underlying health issues. In the 6 months since Covid started ruling our lives I wonder how many deaths the island has had from cancer, heart failure or even suicide? It’s an interesting debate.

Now the latest news/kick in the teeth is that the socialist Balearic government (based in Palma) has announced new measures for the urban centres of San Antonio and Ibiza Town. From this coming Friday at 10pm for a minimum of 15 days movement is restricted and groups meeting up cannot exceed 5. Bars and restaurants are to close at 10pm. While the bar terraces can stay open, public playgrounds remain closed. Kids are back to school wearing masks yet mingle freely before and after college.

So many mixed messages while businesses close down at a rate never seen before with no help from those implementing the same restrictive measures that are ruining their livelihoods, it’s hard not to be concerned for the future.

So talking of the future, what is the plan? The Balearic Government seem intent on shooting themselves in the foot taking a hammer to the situation with their reactionary behaviour, like the Keystone Cops stumbling from one crisis to another while offering little or no help to those most affected. This latest lockdown is a good example, being brought in when evidence suggests that the problem is starting to improve. Surely the message should be sanitary coupled with personal responsibility rather than more restrictions which can cause confusion, division and anger.

The hope now is that Ibiza can get through the next 6 months relatively unscathed, re-emerge from this situation and prepare for summer 2021. The corona rollercoaster is still very much in operation but the hope is that the ups and downs gradually become less and less so some normality can return to our lives.

Summer 2020 has been an ‘interesting’ ride but a tourist island needs tourism and those tourists need to feel safe. The mixed messages from the Balearic Government have to stop and some real leadership and hope needs to emerge.

The Big Online Covid Debate

When social media was first conceived even those ultra geeks in Silicon Valley could never have envisioned where it would all lead to.

Facebook was an online profile where you could tell everyone how happy you felt and what you were doing yet in 2020 it has become the biggest divisive tool known to mankind. It’s been used to spread hate, swing elections and now it’s the vehicle for the Big Online Covid Debate.

The virus and its consequences have taken over our lives so it’s only natural that everybody has an opinion but many are passing on 2nd hand polarising information as verbatim and courting opposing views so online arguments are commonplace. It’s been an interesting window into the human psyche – armchair scientists against doom mongers against positive thinkers against conspiracy theorists against anti-vaxers versus the world.

The political and scientific landscape is changing all the time and reactionary governments are running scared and with no clear contingency plans in place they appear to have little or no clue as to what will happen next. The fear of not knowing resonates downwards to a population unwilling or too lazy to ask pertinent questions driving divisions via social media.

It feels to me like we are back in the 80’s when world governments told us that we were all going to die of ‘AIDS’ if we didn’t fundamentally change the way we lived. ‘Don’t die of ignorance’ was the tagline. Oh the irony. This virus is very different to what is now known as HIV but there is a precedent for getting it totally wrong when there’s no clear understanding of what you are dealing with.

Like many, Ibiza’s own journey with Covid has been a rollercoaster. Numbers were relatively very low until a few weeks ago when widespread PCR testing started revealing that many were carrying the virus showing little or no symptoms. The island now has over 500 ‘active cases’ but hospital admissions in relation are very low. Over 95% of all new cases have been classed as ‘low’ or asymptomatic so only home isolation is neccessary.

The virus is being passed locally by groups of friends and families living and working together. It’s now mainly in younger people (25-50) who are more resistant so cases are going up while deaths go down as the vulnerable continue to shield themselves. Ibiza hasn’t had a death in over 4 months and only 12 since the start of the pandemic- all but 1 were elderly with pre existing medical conditions. This isn’t an outright killer, it’s a horrible virus with consequences but it certainly isn’t Ebola or the bubonic plaque.

What’s interesting for a tourist island is that tourists have been the least of Ibiza’s worries. Less than 15% of all cases have been found to come from this sector but other foreign governments imposing quarantine on Spain because of cases in regions many hundreds of miles away has ended the Ibiza summer early. With harsh new local laws now being introduced many bars and restaurants have closed, some for good. The island will be in full winter mode by mid September. All this for 1 ‘unexplained’ death from Covid?

Social media will carry on driving divisions between us due to strong opinions on an episode that is affecting our lives and livelihoods. Local businesses that have taken years of hard work to build have crumbled under the pressure of something that none of us has any control over and that’s a bitter pill to take.

Until a clear plan is put in place the fear will intensify and it will get worse before it gets better but get better it will. History shows us that this isn’t the first time this has happened but it is the first time that social media has played such an important part, everyone can have their say and however lucid, ludicrous and divisive their comments are there’s always an audience ready and willing to take the opposing view. The online debate rumbles on and on.

Ibiza Covid Numbers Not Telling the Real Story

Last week was a very strange week in Ibiza. Months of low Covid numbers were superseded by a big spike that has got many scratching their heads. Now today we have a further 88 new cases, as many as the whole of last week put together.

The numbers in the Balearics are now so high that Germany, Holland & Belgium have added the Islands to the blacklist where those returning have to take a test or serve a 14 day quarantine/isolation period.

This time though it’s a very different sensation from before. Back in April and May the majority of Covid cases were admitted to Can Misses Hospital and their intensive care unit was busy (but thankfully not too busy). This time round nearly all new cases are being reported as asymptomatic or with very mild symptoms. Visible queues can be seen at local testing stations so it’s clear that more people are being tested. It may also mean that the virus is weakening.

So as the the growing numbers continue to published daily it’s clear that the testing landscape and parameters have completely changed yet without any further background information the numbers are rendered almost meaningless.

Out of the 80 or so new active cases reported last week only 2 were deemed serious enough to be admitted to hospital. The rest were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms and are ‘isolating at home’. 80 new cases may appear to be a high number but to give it some context, 300 people tested positive last week from 1 factory in Northampton in the UK (the same country who deemed the Balearics unsafe to travel to).

As Ibiza residents and business owners we need a general overview of who and what these new cases are. Data protection is in place so we don’t need names (this isn’t a witch-hunt) but are they locals? Are they international tourists? Are they large families or friends who live and work together? Are they national tourists? And most importantly how did they get the virus? There MUST be a pattern forming and only by fully understanding the situation can we evaluate accordingly and potentially avoid risky situations. Yet all we get are numbers and more numbers and very little else.

Meanwhile back in the real world Ibiza carries on regardless, beaches are packed and restaurants have waiting lists but, because of these numbers on a spreadsheet, bars are forced to close and other countries have to take action. Something is not adding up here and until we have full disclosure the mistrust of the authorities will continue and the conspiracy theorists will carry on unabated.

For an island that relies on visiting tourism it’s a baffling situation that we are only being told a small fraction of the story and left to fill in the blanks with speculation and hearsay. In fact it’s gross negligence as these numbers are causing widespread fear and preying on the minds of many whilst businesses are forced to put up a closed sign because of an invisible enemy that most of us have never seen first hand or been affected by.

The numbers aren’t telling us the whole story and after all we’ve been through it’s the very least we deserve and it’s unforgivable that many islanders are now living in fear without knowing the full facts.

Be Careful What You Wish For

1st week of August and San Antonio is quiet, very quiet. Walking around town there are very few groups of youngsters, nobody is reminiscing about the night before in a loud manner, the atmosphere is almost eerie, this isn’t how it should be in peak season.

There are tourists, the Spanish are here as they always are in August but they stick to the cafes and local restaurants and will be gone in 10 days. A few other nationalities mill around but the most important cog in this previously well oiled tourist machine is missing.

This is the reality since the British government reintroduced a 14 day quarantine for those returning from Spain effectively killing off British tourism overnight. Instead of separating the islands from the mainland (like Germany managed to do with ease) they implemented the regulation across the board for all of Spain including the Balearics and the Canaries. The masses can’t afford to take 2 weeks off work after a holiday. Game over until they change their stance.

Ironically, as the UK hides behind ‘the science’ justifying their actions as trying to protect their population, Ibiza has only 3 cases of Covid in hospital. 2 of those are now negative but are being kept in under observation meaning that the island has just ONE positive case of Covid19 on its hospital wards yet the British Government deem it an unsafe destination. Quite staggering really when you consider what is happening in England.

Whether the UK’s decision has anything to do with Brexit, Gibraltar, keeping the pounds in their own economy or a simple case of mismanagement with a touch of laziness, it doesn’t matter for those on the White Isle who now face an uncertain future and 18 months without employment with minimal help from the Spanish government. It’s a very precarious situation.

If I was a betting man I would wager that the UK will lift the quarantine regulations just as the holiday season is drawing to a close opening up the corridors once again as people are going back to work, a small shred of hope in a murky sea of darkness.

If there’s one positive to come from this sorry affair it’s the stark realisation that Ibiza and especially San Antonio needs British tourism. The much maligned Brits have taken blow after blow over the years (some justified, some not) as a local uprising blamed them for everything that is bad conveniently forgetting that they only ever come over looking to enjoy themselves and spend their hard earned money. Lest they forget now.

Hopefully the penny has dropped, especially in San Antonio, and British tourism will finally get the respect it deserves from the local population. Mass tourism will always bring challenges and San Antonio will be forever fighting a stigma that was born in the 80s and consolidated in the 90s but all you have to do is look around to see that the town is moving in the right direction with new boutique hotels, a more sophisticated offering and an average spend per person that other Mediterranean resorts can only dream of.

The West End area will continue to be a political hot potato and there will always be unscrupulous people on the streets but the San Antonio of 2020 (and 2021) is a million miles away from where it was 10 years ago. The only thing missing right now is the British people who, if it wasn’t obvious before, almost single-handedly, fuel our local economy.

It will always be a love/hate relationship between the local population and tourism but let’s hope that now we have all seen the other side of the coin even the staunchest critics understand the basics of the relationship and are more tolerant of young, excitable British enjoying an island they love and return to year after year.

As we now see with our own eyes, San Antonio and Ibiza isn’t the same without the Brits and all they bring – the good and the not so good, the sneers have turned to tears. As the old saying goes – be careful what you wish for… may get it.

Open Letter to the UK Prime Minister

On Saturday evening, with only a few hours notice, your UK government imposed new travel regulations for British tourists visiting Spain. This decision inconvenienced thousands (including a few of your own ministers) and has directly affected the livelihoods of many ‘hard working families’ (a phrase your government likes to use).

Then yesterday after previously exempting the Balearic Islands from the essential travel only list you double backed on yourself. You obviously did this as your previous decision to declare the Islands safe yet to apply the 14 day quarantine rule was a contradiction in terms so instead of looking at positive ways to solve this you took the easy option to ‘hide behind the science’ yet again.

Your justification for these knee-jerk reactions is to protect the health of your fellow country men, women and children. Although this is a noble sentiment it’s been falling on deaf ears for a long time as they have continually shown contempt for your guidelines by gathering on beaches and holding demonstrations. Even your own ‘colleague’ Dominic Cummins couldn’t follow the rules that he himself helped to write (even though his eyesight is OK to read them).

However let’s get back to Spain and your baffling decisions on Saturday and Monday. Spain needs UK tourism (nearly as much as you need catchphrases and slogans), it’s vital to the economy and is the lifeblood for many holiday resorts such as San Antonio where I’ve lived for nearly 30 years. We rely heavily on British tourism yet your actions finish the summer for many businesses who only started a few weeks ago after an extended lockdown.

But Boris above all else, here’s the really crazy thing, San Antonio is on a small island called Ibiza (you may have heard of it) and our contagion rate is amongst the lowest in Europe, in fact it’s a lot safer here than wandering around Asda in Wolverhampton so the justifications for your actions are simply not true. The Balearics is amongst the safest places in Europe and is full of international visitors enjoying the summer. Unlike the UK we have got our sh*t together (pardon the expression).

Seeing as your decisions seem to be made on the hoof and veer wildly from day to day I kindly ask that you use some common sense and develop an ‘air corridor’ between the UK and the Balearic Islands that will save livelihoods and allow many on our islands to get through a very long winter. It will also allow your fellow Brits to have a holiday here and after the last 5 months by George do they need it!

Thanks for reading Boris, let’s get this done!

Yours sincerely

Martin Makepeace

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Is The ‘New Ibiza’ Unfolding in Front of Us?

Lots has been written over the last few years about the ‘New Ibiza’. The Ibiza that knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing. A place that has ‘VIP’ ingrained into its diminishing soul.

Then came Covid. When it comes to game-changers the Chinese flu (to paraphrase a president) has done more in 4 months than any politician has in 4 decades. It’s created a new Ibiza for this summer but one that might be a blueprint for the future.

Whether by accident or design (will leave that to the conspiracy theorists) Ibiza is now what many have longed to see – very few groups of youngsters, an international crowd of mainly families and mature groups idling the day away on the beach or by the pool then booking ‘expensive’ restaurants by night. Busy days followed by quiet nights, like a European Caribbean where the streets become empty by 1am.

The large groups of youths are few and far between, the nocturnal screaming and shouting is minimal, the super-clubs are closed and the bright lights of San Antonio’s West End have been switched off in a political manoeuvre that wouldn’t be out of place in a hammy Shakespearian play.

Is this the new Ibiza unfolding before our eyes? A not-so-secret agenda pushed through on the back of a global pandemic. Some businesses will not survive this crisis therefore changing the landscape forever.

The Ibiza lovers are here as they always are, nothing stands in their way when it comes to visiting but the mass tourism that we have become accustomed to isn’t and many residents are already on their knees unable to feed their families while the Spanish government is creaking under the debt of helping out these people.

If this is the new Ibiza then it will be a challenge to bring through the next generation of tourists. Those that will spend the next 30 years of their lives returning while spreading the word of an island paradise where hedonism, culture, natural beauty and a liberal attitude exist side by side. As any football team knows – you are only as good as your youth policy.

This Ibiza of 2020 is only catering to a market segment of an already saturated market, it’s resembling Menorca at the moment getting by on its natural beauty and amazing local food but it’s missing those unique selling points that differentiates it from the rest of the world and as any good salesperson will tell you, it’s the USP’s that make the difference with any product. Never underestimate the importance of choice and Ibiza has always had in in bucketloads….until this summer of course.

We should continue to count our lucky stars that Ibiza 2020 is actually happening. This summer’s version is lacking an edge that only a fully functioning White Isle can offer but still gives many a chance to recoup some losses and keep the momentum going for 2021.

Let’s enjoy this summer for what it is but also not lose sight of what made Ibiza so special in the first place. It’s inevitable that the island will change but that change should be organic and not driven by petty politics and point scoring. To use a couple of cliches… careful of what you wish for, the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Short Memory – The Only True Enemy

It’s been a long few weeks on the White Isle. A stop/start kind of atmosphere where the locals continue to live in a peaceful paradise awaiting a surge of tourism that hasn’t yet materialised.

The international set is starting to arrive but the British have largely stayed away so far due to murky press sensationalism and a quarantine regime that has put fear into those who love to travel. Tour operators are beginning to re-start so we should start to see more people on the streets. It’s a thorny subject but the modern Ibiza needs mass tourism if it’s 150,000 inhabitants are to survive through a long winter.

Around the island, social distancing is being respected. Ibiza Town is busy (isn’t it always) the beaches are starting to fill, restaurants have waiting lists and Formentera is back to its glorious best – something we could have only dreamed about several weeks ago. It’s mainly the areas that rely on British tourism – San Antonio, San Antonio Bay and Playa den Bossa – that remain quiet as we approach mid July.

Now we have the new face mask protocol which is being spun by some as a major negative with local press reports even claiming that it’s causing holiday cancellations. Most excuses seem to convenient during this pandemic.

Masks are slightly uncomfortable but it is only a mask, it’s not restricting our freedom of movement. Personally I think it’s a fairly pointless exercise especially in the open air but if it’s the law and is backed up by science then we have a duty to pull together and do our bit. It will be for history to judge whether it was an over reaction but for now, I for one, will do what I’m told is good for the island and try to keep it as clean and healthy as possible.

A couple of months ago most of us in Spain were confined to our homes, unable to leave except for food and essentials. In deepest darkest April if you had said to me that Ibiza will be more or less fully open (except for the clubs) by early July but you will have to wear a face mask in public then I would have accepted it in a heartbeat.

Unfortunately in the social media world everything has become a problem, no cause is too small for the keyboard warriors to become abusive and no ground can ever be ceded. The small detail is debated to the nth degree yet the big picture is often missed. The big picture here is that Ibiza is finally open and is finding its feet in the new normal. The airport arrivals board continues to grow and the streets are becoming more vibrant.

As we hurtle towards August we can expect the island to get a lot busier but still with a chilled vibe rather than the usual madness (although there’s always a chance of that too – this is Ibiza after all). Some will like it and others might not but for now we should be thankful that flights are arriving again and we have the chance to salvage something from the summer.

There’s so much to be thankful for, Ibiza is probably more beautiful than ever and is slowly getting its confidence back and learning to function under the new guidelines. Too much negativity is being thrown in certain directions by those who seem to revel in delivering bad news.

It’s time to seize the moment and make the most of an opportunity we didn’t think we’d even get. Our only true enemy right now isn’t a piece of cloth to cover our nose and mouth it’s a short memory and realistic expectations.

Post Lockdown Paradise but Time to Get Back to Work

Coming out of the Ibiza lockdown has been like emerging from a long dark tunnel into glorious bright sunshine, we’ve come a very long way in a few short weeks.

Since we’ve been ‘released from house arrest’ the Island has never been so beautiful in the warm summer air without tourists. It’s given us all a new appreciation of where we live. Free of traffic, free of pollution, free of white legs and red shoulders but also free of income and prosperity.

Unfortunately in the busy, modern world you can’t have your cake and eat it and as beautiful as this Ibiza is, it needs tourism like humans need oxygen, the island simply can’t function without it. What type of tourism is a separate debate for another day but for now we need to get the Ibiza economy back up and running. It’s time to get back to work.

Those looking for a cheap peak season holiday might not like our prices but this backs up the Ibiza brand and an unwillingness to compromise. You won’t see Monaco or Switzerland dump their prices either and Ibiza is stronger because it knows it’s own value and understands that massively discounting is counterproductive attracting the wrong market and devaluing the product. Better to have 6 good weeks than 12 bad ones.

As in any situation there are winners and losers to emerge from the lockdown ashes and yet again the West End of San Antonio has been unfairly targeted by politicians hundreds of miles away on a different island.

Whatever your opinion on this hot potato of an area, to deny the many local families, who rely on it, the chance of a livelihood during the worst economic crisis in modern times is unfair at best and downright criminal at worst. It can’t be right that one street can open but the next one can’t as long as everyone follows the letter of the law. It’s the tourists who should decide whether a business is successful, not petty rivalries between opposing politicians.

The fact that San Antonio Town Hall is powerless to oppose the restrictions imposed on the West End speaks volumes of the nature of Balearic politics. The Balearic Government is yet another needless layer of overpaid bureaucrats looking to justify their existence on a daily basis. In my opinion decisions that affect the local population should be administered by the democratically elected local town hall along with the island council, not a group of 3rd party arbiters who have limited knowledge about the genuine situation on the ground.

The West End’s short term future may be in the balance but the big winner of the post lockdown weeks has been Formentera which has been inundated with day tourists. Many locals who wouldn’t usually have the time or inclination to visit have been taking the trip and enthusing about the paradise island and it’s beauty.

They say that the cream always rises to the top and, after many feared for Formentera, the smallest habitable Balearic island has in fact seen plenty of visitors with long queues for ferries and busy beaches.

Of course it hasn’t been the same as with ‘genuine’ tourists but Formentera’s reputation for nature and beauty has soared and this is something that money simply can’t buy. As the world gets busier you can always rely on the F-word to deliver in a calm and classy way.

As international flights start to arrive, the local population get back to work and the island slowly recovers, summer 2020 promises to be like no other. Ibiza will be different this year and it could be THE year to discover its genuine charms whilst basking in it’s beautiful glow and unique atmosphere. There’s only one way to find out……

98 Days Later – End of Lockdown

Friday 13th March. Life as we know it was about to change as Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez took many (including me) by surprise and announced that a state of alarm (SOA) would begin in 2 days because of the global pandemic. He then added to the confusion by bringing it forward a day. Confusion would be the theme from here on in.

Sunday 14 March. The Ibiza streets were still busy with families going about their usual business, many in blissful ignorance.

Monday 15 March. The local Police, Civil Protection Agency and the Guardia Civil got to work clearing the streets and reality started to hit home, this wasn’t a drill.

So started 14 long weeks of lockdown which finished at midnight last night. 98 days where social media was the forum of choice as hearsay, rumours and conjecture became the common currency. Facebook groups started to cover information, conspiracy and advice. ‘Ibiza Winter Residents’ became eerily quiet so we knew it must be serious.

Parents became the new teachers overseeing the homeschooling of their children and dogs were allowed out for exercise and had more freedom than most. Ibiza’s population stepped up and the hashtags #QuedateEnCasa and #StayAtHome began to circulate.

Local authorities fined the law breakers using drones and roadblocks became commonplace. Daily press conferences gave updates as we crunched the numbers and became a an extra in our own horror movie.

Queues for supermarkets became longer but the clamour for toilet rolls died down. The Balearics stayed near the bottom of the contagions league table but Can Misses converted an operating theatre into an intensive care ward just in case.

Fernando Simon of Spain’s Ministry of Health became a familiar face on local TV and Lesley Donald revealed that she had a secret crush on him, who’d have thought this strange looking man would become a sex symbol.

Eventually kids were allowed out but a convoluted exercise timetable meant that seniors couldn’t mix with kids and adults either had to have an early walk or a sunset stroll. Many did what they thought they could but in fact they couldn’t even though others were. Confused? You bet we were!

Life slowly returned to some form of normality, dogs lost their unique privileges and the rumour mill now went into overdrive while banks and landlords still charged there monthly fees even though most on the white isle wasn’t working or had no prospect of employment this year.

The numbers dropped but Ibiza continued to be cut off from the world, great for containment but not so good when trying to kickstart the local economy.

Hope started to filter through as the dominoes began to fall and restrictions were lifted. Ibiza became a dystopian paradise where beaches and roads were empty, car parking was plentiful but no tourism meant no jobs or income for many. The line between ‘the haves’ and ‘the have-nots’ had never been clearer.

Now after nearly 100 days it’s time to get back to a new normality where we try to claw back what we’ve lost but do it as only Ibiza knows how, with style and a naughty smile.

Many lockdown lessons have been learned and even through the darkest days solidarity shined through. Let’s hope that Ibiza emerges softer, more aware of itself, more welcoming but also not prepared to sell its soul for the tourist dollar.

Thanks to everyone who read and shared my updates during the crisis. Special thanks to the amazingly energetic Lesley Donald who will continue to post on all forums until there are no numbers to talk of , the wily ‘Lady’ Tricia Templeton whose common sense and wit kept us going and Julian Cobby for his acerbic daily take on the unfolding events before us.

It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions where hope and positivity always shined through. Please let us never have to do it again but if we do please let me be in Ibiza with a cupboard full of wine, a sunset view and an internet connection.

Ibiza Clubs won’t open….so what are you waiting for?

The nature of clubbing is close contact, being together with a crowd so, under the circumstances, it was always going to be one of the last things to go back to normal.

It was a badly kept secret that the Ibiza super clubs probably weren’t going to open this summer but the news still hit hard, the clubbing scene is part of the fabric of the island, it’s woven into it’s soul. It’s disappointing but life on the White Isle will go on and, although some might tell you differently, there is definitely more to Ibiza than the super clubs.

More important right now is the connectivity so tourists can actually get here. The announcement last Saturday that Spain will open its borders next week, a week earlier than expected caught many (including myself) by surprise but reflects the Spanish government’s need to kick start the ecomony with tourism being top of it’s priority list.

The fact that, along with most of the Schengen area, the UK is included on the list of countries welcome to enter Spain from 22 June tells it’s own story especially as the UK is several weeks behind the rest of Europe and still hasn’t got the virus under complete control but it’s a straightforward risk/reward situation for the Spanish Government, ban tourism for longer and the country will suffer more hardship, open up in time for the peak summer season and hope that it’s citizens can scrape enough money together to get through a long winter while avoiding another spike.

They might give us an edge but the Ibiza brand is so much more than clubs and this new scenario might give smaller businesses who’ve previously been suffocated a better chance of success. There will be a big gap in the market but the island has plenty of entrepreneurs who specialise in coming up with new ideas to keep the paying public occupied and happy. The Ibiza 2020 experience will be different but it will still be inescapably Ibiza.

Sunrises, delicious food, beautiful sandy beaches, glorious sunshine, amazing vistas, cool bars, crystal clear waters, chilled beach clubs, magical sunsets, friendly locals (who will appreciate tourists like never before), an island steeped in culture and heritage where the beautiful people love to hang out, an island that will still keep serving up magic like it has for many decades and did long before ‘Ushuaia’ became more than a city in southern Argentina.

This summer will be different but there will be a summer and after the dark days of virtual house arrest only a few weeks ago it feels amazing just to be able to say that. Ignore the negative people, this really is THE year to discover one of the most beautiful places on earth so book a ticket, open your mind and prepare to fall in love all over again.

Ibiza is the guilty pleasure that you can’t ignore, this year it might be a little more demure but rest assured it still has that naughty glint in it’s eye.