As we come to the end of the summer season and the winter starts it’s the traditional time for Ibiza residents to look for a property to rent on an annual basis however it’s becoming more difficult to find suitable properties on the white isle and those that are available can often have eye watering prices and on some occasions involve unscrupulous owners or agents.
Summer rents are still relatively ‘easy’ although can be very expensive, a winter rent is straightforward with an excess of properties however an annual rent remains a real problem with owners cashing in on Ibiza’s massive worldwide popularity during the summer and leaving their property empty for the rest of the year. As a tenant there is always a temptation to sign a cheap winter deal then ‘sort out something for summer later’ but this is a false economy as summer rents drastically increase in price and you will always pay roughly the same price for a 4/6/12 month lease so a 12 month agreement is always the best option.
The simplifying of the process to legalize detached and semi detached properties for touristic use has seen many owners now go down this route knowing that they can get more money in 4 months than they can in 12 months. For an owner it’s a no-brainer but it has left a large gulf for those wanting to rent decent houses all year round. I’ve lost track of how many times we at Ibiza Property Shop have been asked for a “nice 2 or 3 bedroom house in the country with a small garden, all year round, for around 1000 euros per month”.
Unfortunately it is rare for agencies to get these types of properties as they will often go to friends or family as there is such a long waiting list. If we ever do then they will go within days (or hours) to the lucky person who just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
October to January is the window of opportunity to start an annual rent, any later and it’s getting too close to the summer and potential landlords may decide on just a summer rent. The best place to start is to ask around local Spanish bars and restaurants as that is where the Spanish owners will ‘advertise’, not on Facebook. Social media advertisers tend to be more savvy and ask for premium rates. If you do find a good option then don’t procrastinate or you will be pipped by the next person in line, it’s first come first served and dog eat dog!
A contract should always be signed even if it’s just a private one which clearly states the roles of the tenant and landlord. If the owner doesn’t want to sign a contract then it’s probably not a good idea to proceed although beggars can’t be choosers sometimes and ‘my word is my bond’ still counts for something on the white isle, especially with the older generation.
Unfortunately you may also encounter the dodgy ‘agent’. Facebook is full of horror stories of these go-betweens who often complicate the process and charge for the privilege. Like most things in life there are good ones and there are not so good ones so do some research and ask questions. Sometimes it’s easier to pay a fee and get the property you want however make sure the process is transparent and the fees are relative to the deal.
So if you are presently looking for a rental property don’t be too despondent but you will need to do the rounds, knock on doors and SPEAK to people. Don’t just put a message on Facebook and expect an orderly queue to form. This is Ibiza and it’s never easy but when you are eventually sitting in your ideal property you can smile and recall the journey but also enjoy the quality of life that only Ibiza can offer.
The shifting trend to daytime and early evening parties on the White Isle has been swift and it appears that some establishments have tried to cash in without the correct permits or licences.
Yesterday (16 Sep 2015) Santa Eulalia council confirmed that live shows at Pacha’s El Destino Resort had to be licenced on a case by case basis. The world famous brand had argued that their hotel licence included the option to run regular events however Santa Eulalia town hall stood firm by refusing this argument and reiterating that any repeat offenders risked a penal sentence for continued disobedience. Future planned events featuring Solomun and Luciano are now under threat with reports that some agencies are already refunding tickets.
This news comes hot on the heels of San Jose’s decision to close 3 beach bars for licence infractions or in some cases not having any licence at all. ‘No Name’ in Playa d’en Bossa, Soul Beach at Es Codolar and Reggae Beach at Pinet Playa have all been shut down after it was found they were advertising and holding parties for several hundred people without the correct documentation.
San Jose have also sanctioned the Beach House in Playa den Bossa and Dharma in Port des Torrent for holding parties where their licences only allows bar-restaurants.
These are changing times in Ibiza and it would seem that after the May elections the new local governments are flexing their muscles by sending out a clear message for the future.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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…..
NO CHANGE: Jaume Ferrer (GxF)
GxF* (People for Formentera): 9 seats
Popular Party: 4 seats
PSOE: 2 seats
CompromisFormentera: 2 seats
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!
UK flight only prices have hit an all time high all over Europe but especially for Ibiza, in this blog I analyze the situation and study its effect on the island.
It wasn’t so long ago that you could jump on a cheap one-way flight to Ibiza then pitch up at the airport again a few days later and ask around a few desks for a £50 ‘standby flight ticket’. Unfortunately 9/11 changed the whole face of air travel, tightening up all the regulations and changing it from perceived glamour to a tedious security laden process.
Then in the early noughties the Internet revolution came with ‘low cost carriers’ offering super cheap lead-in prices. They bucked the market and turned it on its head because their business model meant that the longer you waited the more you paid, the complete opposite to the traditional tour operators who dumped seats and holidays at the last minute to put bums on seats. Now 15 years down the line the tours operators are hanging on by their fingertips whilst the airlines have become the mainstay of the Ibiza market
Flight prices have steadily risen especially over the last 5 years and now we are at the crossroads. a quick look at most flights for September will see that the cost is anything from 200 – 400 euros ONE WAY with the higher prices coming from the so called ‘low cost carriers’, oh the irony
The rise of the premium flag carriers into the island has increased prestige but also hiked up prices especially for weekend traffic at good times. Early lead in prices are attractive but soon the prices start to become eye watering so a last minute decision to have a weekend in Ibiza will cost you roughly about the same as a weekend in New York or Moscow or LA or Sydney for that matter.
How did this happen and what impact has it has on the white isle? Specialist tour operator Kirk Field told me: “my numbers are down by 50% this year. Every day I hear of people not booking because return flights are unprecedentedly high”
So Ibiza is not only pricing itself out of the market but it also losing its last minute arrivals, those who decide a few weeks before. Everything now has to be planned months or even years in advance to avoid the sky high late prices (pun intended).
This early stimulation is good for forward planning and cash flow but limits the spontaneous last minute market that is important especially in early and late season. San Antonio Bay bar manager Sue Pritchard said “The flights have been crazy prices this year, so many of our regular visitors have gone else where…”
When checking the prices you can’t help thinking there is a conspiracy (or blatant profiteering) when it comes to Ibiza. Look at prices from London to Mallorca compared to London to Ibiza and you will see a sizable difference. Now before you start screaming ‘it’s just supply and demand’ you can’t help feeling that it’s also about maximum yield, in other worlds, what price Ibiza people are prepared to pay as opposed to other destinations. It would seem that the Ibiza ceiling is much higher than anywhere else, are the airlines reading the press and saying “well if they can afford a table in Ushuaia then I’m sure they can afford £300 for a one-way flight”? The probable answer unfortnately is yes and yes.
It’s no wonder that youngsters and families are deserting the white isle to go to emerging destinations such as Croatia where prices for flights, accommodation and living costs are considerably less. UK travel agent Karen Cianfini: “These prices are one of the main reasons that families can not travel to Ibiza in low season, I could book so many but end up sending customers to Mallorca as much cheaper”.
Once again this ‘system’ is squeezing the middle market with some not baulking at £500 for a return weekend flight from London City but it will also cost a couple over £2000 for a weekend on the white isle during June or September, hardly a drop in the ocean.
The only ‘solution’ is for travelers to understand the system and for Ibiza business people to cut their cloth according and jump on the early booking bandwagon and don’t expect too much last minute action. For value for money it’s all about early bookings, of course the island will go through peaks and troughs but for now we are going through a major peak so the age of the £50 flights during the 4 peak months is a thing of the past.
Last week Duane Lineker (Ocean Beach), Clodagh Enright (Flaherty’s Irish Bar) and myself were present at a meeting chaired by Deputy Mayor Pablo Valdes for local businesses to have their say on the way forward for San Antonio. Many subjects were discussed such as refuse collection, noise pollution and public image however the media (who are a good barometer for local issues) were only interested in 1 topic and that was bar and club closing times.
There’s been much heated debate about this since former Mayor Pepita Gutierrez took it upon herself to change the West End bar closing times from 6am to 5am without formal consultation. Her reasoning was that if the bars closed at 5am then local residents wouldn’t have to face the remnants of a night out on their way to work the following morning but the 5am closing doesn’t appear to have stopped all the people from partying, some carry on drinking at the local beach therefore moving the ‘problem’ from a contained environment to a public place.
It wasn’t that long ago that Ibiza bars could open as and when they wanted including ‘after hours’ from 6am but now there are several different rules governing 1 town. For example, a large nightclub on the outskirts of San Antonio is allowed to close its doors at 8am whereas one in the middle of town needs to be closed by 5am. Daytime has also been restricted so music can’t be played until after 4pm.
Our newly formed British Association has many members who are bar owners and they consistently point to their restricted opening hours as reason for them going through tough times.
Nathan Seal from Viva Bar told me “In 2013, the last full year of 6am opening, we took enough money between 5am and 6am to cover around 50% of the entire wage bill for the year”
He continued “The other issue is the stealth change to the opening hours. All music bars (known locally as ‘cafe conciertos’) went from opening 12pm- 6am to 4pm-5am so we have actually lost 5 hours, not just the 1 hour everyone is shouting about”
To throw more fuel on the fire San Antonio is no longer the preferred Ibiza destination for many of the traditional 18-35 market and the new resorts don’t seem to worry too much about noise pollution. With all the competition and local law changes there has been very slim pickings on offer for bar owners over the last couple of years.
The new 3-party coalition governing San Antonio was voted in after promising local residents a fundamental change but it appears that in all the debates, accusations and counter accusations many local people have forgotten that San Antonio relies solely on tourism and, rightly or wrongly, became famous as a the town where you could party until sunrise (if you wished). Now in many cases the UK licensing laws have been relaxed whilst Ibiza’s has been tightened, a role reversal.
Social media has also given a clear voice to local San Antonio residents who have made it perfectly clear that they voted for change and that is what they expect and they are pointing the finger at the British community as the cause of most of the noise and control problems but when the majority of tourists are from 1 place then that is always going to be the case.
A consensus needs to be sought that reflects the needs of the residents but also gives the bar and club owners a fair crack at earning enough money to get them through the winter. It won’t be easy but negotiations will start soon so new laws can be in place by summer 2016. New laws that are fair on everyone and reflect the needs of all the community and don’t favor residents over commerce or clubs over bars.
San An Line – reasonable condition, still awaiting major investment from the private sector. Union disputes commonplace. Functions surprisingly well considering extreme pressure during high season (Parcial service from 1 Nov-30 Apr)
SunsetLine – major private investment commonplace, currently under investigation by monopolies & mergers commission.
West End Line – disembark here for outdoor theatre district, area due for major overhaul (delayed indefinitely), can be prone to overcrowding at certain times. Night service now available only until 5am. (please note: closed Nov-Apr)
Looky Line – little police presence so please be very cautious. Subject to sporadic unplanned expansion
Font/Church Line – closed Mon-Sat
Mambo Line – addition of more stations inevitable, route now extended to Ibiza Rocks House
Food Express – saver tickets always available, high traffic at certain times so delays inevitable
Meal Line – buffet car unavailable, comfort food available at the end of the line
Eden/EsParadis – limited service so please check timetable
Ocean Beach – beware of disorientated cattle crossing the track, especially just after sunset
Linekers/Boozer/Highlander – expect congestion on match days
Seniors – discounts available 01/04-20/05 & 01-31/10
Saver Wristbands – only applicable at certain times. Check individual stations for details
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
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.