Its been nearly a month since we published the first part of our four part series on the Covid 19 crisis and how it may affect the island of Ibiza. Back then, we suggested that we would know a lot more about Covid 19 and what it would mean for the island, its people, tourism and the club calendar as we approached May 1, the official start to the Ibiza tourism season. For many people in business right now, Covid 19 resembles a cryptic jigsaw puzzle, you have the small pieces, but nobody has the big completed picture to put it all together – we are all guessing. This week a big part of that picture came into focus as Abel Matutes, who owns shares in Ushuaia, Hi, Privilege and Hard Rock Hotel, hinted that his company were not planing any parties for the foreseeable future and while the Hi events calendar remains blank, over the road next to the beach, his Ushuaia open air venue has kept three parties open, David Guetta, CamelPhat & Solardo, and the classic Ants party on Saturdays.
For the Matutes group, clubbing is a secondary business – their main interest is Hotels, the Ibicenco company operates over 50 establishments around the world and sells the lions share of rooms on the island. The intervention by Mr Matutes has not gone down well with the islands resident clubbing industry, especially the independent sector, who have been keen to point out that nothing is official yet, and as far as they are concerned, Ibiza remains open for business this summer. Two of the islands main industry media outlets Ibiza Club News and Ibiza Spotlight have both indicated that parties go ahead as planned, underlining that nothing is “official” yet. Ibiza Spotlight continues to sell tickets for a number of parties and events and as they are the experts on the ground in Ibiza, with well connected sources, the fact that they are still promoting events, shows not everybody on the island is giving up on the season just yet.
The biggest independent club on the island, Amnesia, has yet to make an “official” announcement but sources close to the venue are suggesting a late July or August start to their season. The blog understands that DJ contracts signed for this season have been put “on hold” and that fresh contracts and deals have been renegotiated in line with smaller capacity and reduced ticket and drink prices due to lower DJ costs. There is also a talented pool of local DJ’s on the island ready to step into the breach. This is one idea that excites me, the local scene getting a chance to shine and let me assure you, the local DJ’s are the sound of real Ibiza. Once again it is important to stress that nothing is official yet and the dance music industry like any other industry right now, is operating in unprecedented times, with little or no direction from Government. Another important piece of this jigsaw puzzle is that Ibiza has had its administration powers devolved to Madrid, so their creative & resourceful hands are firmly tied behind their backs, a subject that’s politically charged right now. Once the state of alarm is stood down, and this cound happen Wednesday, Ibiza will be free to makes its own decisions. But it seems certain venues in Ibiza are preparing to tailor an experience that is Covid 19 adaptable and ready to go at short notice.
The biggest issue for any business in Ibiza right now is travel logistics. The Tourism Board of the Balearic islands are playing it safe and calling for restrictions not to be lifted so quickly, as health and contagion is a priority to them. Ibiza is an island, and people have to either fly, sail or drive to get there. We are three months away from August, an unofficial proposed start for some clubs to open, in the meantime, we have a chance to evaluate all the economic and health data from other countries. In China, Shanghai has opened its clubs again with Denmark and Germany slowly starting the process of returning to normality. Also in Sweden nightclubs are open, as the Scandinavians provide us with interesting and unique alternative data around the spread of Covid 19. The airlines operating again will be key, but we can expect higher cost tickets and more restrictive travel options, but we did adapt to imposed new security measures at airports after 9/11, I cant see why we cant do it again. Also each country will operate its own travel and health restrictions, so that will also impact on travel plans. I think its safe to forget about mass tourism on the island this summer, as small and select will be beautiful – the way the island used to be.
However, the main factor that will infulence people traveling to Ibiza this year will be the fear of recession. Already property in Ibiza is flooding the market, as investors rush to offload assets due to reduced cash flow and liquidity in the economy. Some villas that were on the market for €10 million last year, are now on offer for €3 million as the black money operators flee Ibiza, as stricter legal measures are introduced around the Covid 19 crisis. Sources in the financial sector are predicting a recession harder that the one triggered by the collapse of the Lehman Brothers in 2008, so three months will allow people enough time to gauge if going on holiday is a good idea this summer. Also its going to be a more somber mood as Covid continues to cull life and some people will not want to travel and holiday in that environment.
We never know what may be around the corner, a vaccine, a potential cure or a deep recession. As an Irishman, I am an optimist at heart, we don’t believe in defeat or giving up on hope, you resist, fight on and live in the moment and see what happens. I have won some sweet victories in my life at the very last moment, just when it seemed all was lost, a solution presented itself Some refer to it as the “luck of the Irish” but its not luck, its about being positive and in the right frame of mind, laughter rather than fear. Its all about perception and I know similar people with that attitude, many of them living and regularly visiting Ibiza and that family bond with the island is a strong one, that will answer Ibiza’s call when required. It was Aristotle who said that, hope is the dream of a waking man, and Nostradamus that Ibiza would be Earths final refuge, so the magic still exists. With all the extra UFO activity in the skies over Ibiza recently, maybe they are all preparing to party on the island this summer. Signs, keep your eyes open for them, be alert not fearful, and please God, we will all meet again on the dancefloor sooner than later.
Together we will rise above it.
Read the full four articles in our Covid 19 series.
Part III; Covid 19 vs The People Of Ibiza
Special Report; Politics Of Covid 19 Ibiza