News: Balearic Villa Associations strike agreement for Ecotax Payment 

Roberto San Esteban, President AVAT

Representatives of the Balearic Villa Associations have come to an agreement in principal with the tax authorities on how to collect and pay the the new tourist ‘ECOTAX’ that’s due to be imposed this coming summer. 

The tax will be calculated using a ‘modules system’ that takes into account the sleeping capacity of the villa plus the dates it is occupied. This does not apply to private apartments as under current legislation it is prohibited for them to be rented out to tourists.

Roberto San Esteban, President of AVAT (the Ibiza and Formentera Villa Association) said that this is the “least worst” way for owners to collect and pay the tax but regrets that many villas are already booked for the coming  summer forcing his members to “pay more”.

The payment formula will be introduced at the same time as the new law is implemented and instead of paying the usual €1 + IVA per person per night the villa owners and operators will pay according to the size of the property and number of bedrooms/beds.  San Esteban went on to say that many villas are in the process of legalization so as yet “there is no control” over them.

It’s also been agreed that because each of the Balearic Islands has different occupation months this will be taken into account using a ‘correction factor’. San Esteban commented that holiday homes in Mallorca have a 6 month period of occupation while Ibiza only has three and a half months and Menorca and Formentera even less.  “We discussed this correction factor and reached a consensus. Now we just need the approval of Viviana de Sans” said the representative of AVAT, which has 212 members even though the official number villas registered or being registered in Ibiza stands at 1,900.

The tax payment will take place between May and June of the following year of activity; i.e. owners/operators will pay the ECOTAX for summer 2016 in 2017.  As the first year is “difficult to assess”, from January next year, interested parties may change to a module that better suits depending on the activity recorded in the previous summer but San Esteban warns that the Tax Agency has control mechanisms in place to ensure that villa owners/operators do not try to avoid paying part of the tax with a module that isn’t representative of the actual occupation. “Just by looking at electricity and water bills you can see the use (and occupation) of the property”. 

It was also agreed at the meeting that a Balearic ‘holiday home’ census would be created for the first time using all available data from the tax agency and the Balearic Ministry of Tourism. 

San Esteban welcomed the special inspections recently announced by Viviana de Sans for this coming summer to root out unfair competition and expected them to be “intense”. The President of AVAT remarked that there are unscrupulous operators who come to the island for August armed with just a website and a mobile phone who don’t pay any taxes and deceive clients who are left stranded without any liability insurance”.

Ibiza Taxi Strike for Easter?

 
The ongoing problems with Ibiza Taxis shows no sign of slowing down (pardon the expression) with the Ibiza Taxi Federation (FITIE) calling for a strike to coincide with Easter week from 23-28 March. This industrial action is to protest against the plan agreed between municipalities and the Consell (island council) to issue more seasonal licenses. FITIE has also warned of further summer strikes if the public institutions “maintain their disinterest” in negotiating with the federation.

According to FITIE president Alejandro Cardell, the agreed seasonal plan that grants more summer licences “in a single turn” has been negotiated “behind the backs of taxi drivers”. He continued “we have always tried to reach consensus with varying degrees of success, but this time have not agreed on anything”.

This latest turn of events follows on from the taxi drivers rally against ‘pirate taxis’ which ironically only exist because of the lack of taxis in the summer. Some will see this latest threat as the taxi drivers protecting their business whereas others will see it as further proof of an outdated licensing system where tourists are the ones who ultimately suffer. 

Summer Crackdown on Illegal Tourist Rentals in Ibiza

  

The Ibiza housing crisis took another turn yesterday after it was announced that Balearic Government Inspectors will take part in an extensive campaign against illegal tourist rentals in houses and apartments in Ibiza and Formentera over the summer months. 

Viviana de Sans, Vice President of the Island Council (Consell), said at a meeting of the Bureau of Housing Rights that the campaign will mirror that of last summer against illegal workers. “The inspectors from all of the islands will come to Ibiza and act together to make a clean sweep, a campaign of high impact” explained the Vice President who is confident that the fines imposed will serve to discourage owners, agencies and intermediaries to hire homes illegally during the tourist season.

“The results of this campaign and the fines imposed will serve as a marker” said de Sans “the idea is for people to assess the possible consequences of renting illegally during the summer and to raise their interest in renting all year round”.  The Vice President said that there would be fines ranging from 4,000 to 400,000 euros and “this is what should discourage owners (from renting illegally)”.  Sra de Sans also stressed the need for a “social debate” so people “will be ashamed to confess that tourists rent your apartment”.  The Vice President warned that the “social alarm about high rental prices (on the island) encouraged many owners to rent their homes illegally”.

Sra de Sans also said that the Island Council (Consell) “will drive” contact between Government Inspectors and the Platform for those affected by rentals with a “hotline” to enable this group to communicate complaints”. Inspectors cannot meet with an association but if the Consell calls them you have contact,” said De Sans, who insisted that the Consell de Ibiza is currently “not competent in housing issues”.

The spokesman of this platform, Luis Gonzaga, also present at the meeting, stressed that the allegations made since last season have taken some effect “one intermediary has been sanctioned for accumulating a large portfolio of housing that was destined for irregular use but as of today no other case has reached us”

Gonzaga encouraged people to continue to denounce rental abuses and report them to the Guardia Civil and Hacienda (Tax Office), especially agents and intermediaries “because if they disappear then it will be easier to rent these homes”.

In addition, he said that inspections and prosecution of illegal rentals will ultimately favour a shift towards “lower annual rental prices instead of unlawful use”.  However he insisted once again that during the summer “there is a lack of personnel for inspections and police to address all cases on the island.”


Source: Diario de Ibiza 

Plans for a “NEW” San Antonio 

 

IdenCity, the company run by Jordi Hereu, the former mayor of Barcelona has been appointed at a cost of 60,000 euros to design the “transformation” of central San Antonio.

Seated with San Antonio Mayor Jose Tur, Hereu held a presentation yesterday to a group of local representatives, including political opposition, on how it will implement a strategic plan that should serve as the “sheet map” for the “change of tourism model” and urban conversion of the municipality between this year and 2030, covering nearly four legislatures.  Also attending the meeting were the President of the Island Council (Consell) Vicent Torres, and Luis Corral, Director General of Territorial Planning of the Balearic Government.

Until now there has been several comprehensive projects of tourist reconversion for San Antonio that have come to nothing. “I know there have been other projects with similar objectives which haven’t been successful. This town doesn’t  need resignation, it needs enthusiasm and a desire to do things” said Mayor Tur who continued to explain that the objectives were “improve the image of the municipality and the quality of life for its residents, not to increase the number of visitors but diversify the tourism market and be able to achieve a friendly tourism and provide a decent product”

Tur explained that IndenCity was established 4 years ago and was chosen over 3 other companies and is also currently working on a comprehensive transformation of the Mexican city of Chalco, and other various cities in Spain.

Hereu stressed the importance of the conversion of San Antonio as “a city project, not just a government project” and the need for a political pact between all forces and also citizen participation. Aware of the previous similar failed attempts to revitalize San Antonio, the former mayor of Barcelona stressed the need to “escape” from the idea that “things are hopeless.” “If there is a will there is a way” he said.

In this sense, Hereu said his company “is not a consultant who is dedicated to doing theoretical work or an academic study that sits on a shelf” he carried on “We like to transform territories in practice not in theory” but he also warned that “the challenge will not be easy…..and requires the will of all citizens”.

Sr Hereu continued to explain that the proposed transformation of the municipality should undertake both public and private funding and that if citizens demonstrate “their will” to change the municipality the necessary financial resources for it will appear from both public institutions and the private sector. “San Antonio needs to change its image” he said.

IdenCity director Javier Sierra warned that if the strategic plan is based solely on public funding then it would be doomed to “failure” and at the same time stressed the importance of the project to include “achievable objectives”. 

For his part the general director of Planning, Luis Corral, said he could not guarantee any financial contribution by the Balearic Government but stressed that as they are accustomed to improvisation that costs lots of money the new urban planning of the municipality must be “absolutely linked to a strategic plan”. 

Source: Diario de Ibiza

Ibiza Hotels Most Expensive in Spain

 

In a clear sign of the times Ibiza has officially been named as the most expensive Spanish destination to lay down your head according to the 2015 Hotel Price Index (HPI). 

Ibiza tops the list with an average of 171 euros per room per night, an increase of 1% compared to 2014. Marbella is the second most expensive Spanish destination after increasing prices by 6% year on year and charging an average rate of 152 euros per room per night. 

Mallorca, Ibiza’s larger sibling and some might argue biggest competitor, saw no change in their prices with an average of 132 euros.

Overall Spanish hotels increased their prices by 4% for the 2nd consecutive year reaching an average price of 109 euros, while rates worldwide rose by only 1%. Madrid hotel prices went up by 9% to 102 euros per room per night whilst more than half of the 40 analysed Spanish destinations had an average price of less than 100 euros per night such as as Sevilla at 93 euros, Valencia at 84 euros and Granada at 80 euros.

Further afield New York topped the world table with an average of 206 euros per room per night (up 9%), Las Vegas was 98 euros (up 19%), London 162 euros (up 2%), Paris 119 euros (down 7%) and Dubai 156 euros (down 10%). 

South East Asia continued to be good value for money with Bangkok a relatively ‘cheap’ 55 euros (down 2%) and Bali 89 euros (down 10%).

  

Source: http://www.hpi.hotels.com

Pet Shop Boys and Yello at IMS Ibiza 2016

 
You know it’s nearly summer when the buzz starts about the International Music Summit, now in its 9th year on the island and this year being held at Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza from 25 to 27 May.

News that will especially appeal to the 80’s generation (such as myself) it’s just been announced that the Pet Shop Boys, namely Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, will make a rare public appearance talking to Pete Tong about their 30 year career and the stories behind their legendary remixes by artists such as David Morales, KLF and Shep Pettibone. 

Also making their IMS debut will be Dieter Meier and Boris Blank also known as “Yello” who have been around for over 35 years and most famously had the smash hit record ‘Yeah’ which has become an iconic track for all sorts of multimedia. 

Ben Turner, IMS Co-Founder and Curator, states: “Pet Shop Boys and Yello are both visionary acts that have taken electronic music worldwide with a pioneering, but populist approach. We’re proud to have Chris Lowe, Neil Tennant, Deiter Meier and Boris Blank all in attendance at IMS Ibiza this year. 2016 showcases our biggest list of artist speakers to date for IMS Ibiza, and in addition, our flagship event will also bring some amazing industry icons to introduce the perspective not often heard in our daily working lives.”

Pet Shop Boys and Yello are joined by Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Pete Tong, Erick Morillo, Seth Troxler, Dave Haslam, Tale of Us (Carmine Conte & Matteo Milleri), Dubfire,Guy Gerber, Jason Bentley, Gary Richards aka Destructo, Mr C, Nicole Moudaber, B-Traits, Danny Howard, Danny Daze, Benjamin Damage, Francesca Lombardodo who make up an amazing list of “20 Artists for 2016” at this years extravaganza.


Source: Diario de Ibiza

TOP 5 DEATHBED REGRETS

Pic: Piers Dupoy

Ever wondered what you’ll look back on and regret? Author, blogger, musician and nurse Bronnie Ware counselled the dying in their final days. She spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives.  Here’s what she discovered were the most common deathbed regrets.

1. Wishing you had the courage to live life true to yourself, not the life others expected

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”


2. Wishing you hadn’t worked so hard

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

3. Wishing you had the courage to express your feelings

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”


4. Wishing you stayed in touch with friends

“Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

5. Wishing you’d have let yourself be happier

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”


SO AS THE SUMMER APPROACHES DON’T WORK SO HARD, KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR MATES AND GET SILLY…AND MOST IMPORTANTLY BE YOURSELF!

Source: Guardian 1/2/12