We are nearly halfway through the season here in Ibiza and there has been quite a few trends setting the pace on the island. Depending who you talk to, you will get differing opinions on how busy or quiet it is. For sure, the tourist footfall is down on last years record 8.1 million tourists passing through Ibiza Airport alone, not to mention the ferries and private boats and the official stats from AENA, which are slow to publish this year, will tell us more. Fewer tourists may not be a bad thing, as there is a well connected lobby by local residents to reduce their numbers, especially those at the budget end of the market. Opponents to the move refer to it as “Turismófobia“. The new Eco Tourist tax, had doubled in size and is now the highest in Europe leaving those at the bottom of the food chain feeling unloved. The middle market seems to be the quietest with the high end holding its own. However, tourists are not spending with impunity and are careful with their money, mainly due to the increased prices everywhere. Below are a few trends that I have noticed this summer
Where Are The Clubbers?
It’s been a quiet season so far for the Clubs with many parties not as busy as last year. Amnesia is having its slowest season in decades, with Sundays blank and Mondays new Pyramid party looking destined for the recycling bin. It’s also been a quiet start for the clubs flagship party, Music On, with numbers down right across the board. A notable swing to the big EDM nights, which are attracting the younger generation to parties like Martin Garrix at Ushuaia, a venue which is performing well in PDB alongside Hi. Pacha is also doing well in its first season under new ownership in Ibiza town. The daytime market remains in good health and this factor may be having an impact on the night clubs. The underground scene is under pressure with local DJ’s taking cuts in wages to survive playing the overcrowded underground circuit. For sure, Ibiza is experiencing much change in its club industry right now and one would have to worry for what the future holds in such a changing environment as EDM grows stronger.
Everybody is Angrier and in a Hurry
What is happening to the “tranquilo”, laid back and relaxed vibe of the island? This season everybody seems to be in a hurry and demanding things be done right away and getting angry much easier. So many people, many of them part of the expat community, are complaining more than ever about how the island does not work like it did before. A very noticable change in Ibiza town, which has turned into a bustling city, with all its associated problems, including a severe shortage of car parking and extra busy roads. More haste has led to shorter tempers and lots of negative energy and crazy drivers about. Is Ibiza reaching critical mass and if so can the island right itself again?
Tattoos, fitness and male facial hair is in vogue this summer, as thankfully the man bun is retired to the recycling bin. New concept barber shops are opening to cater to the demand of a stylish beard as the Viking look invades our shores. Hot pants are very popular again this summer, combined with the “underboob” look which replaces last summer’s “sidebreast” style, as body exposure retains its hierarchy presence on the island. Unfortunately not all bodies are made the same and there are quite a few misguided attempts on display this summer, especially around the San Antonio area.
Food and Drink Trends
Food trends on the island this year reflect the fashion trends for fit and healthy bodies. The Vegan food trend is growing in popularity as more healthy food restaurants open to replace the English breakfast and fast food joints. Acai/Poke bowls,Fresh Juices and Falafel are slowly replacing the chicken curry and chips orders but service once again is a problem with staff shortages everywhere. In the fashionable restaurants, the farm to table trend is also in. The trendy alcoholic drink this summer is Gin, specifically Pink Gin, which is popular everywhere.
The Demise of Family Hotels.
A very noticeable trend in recent years has been the refurbishment of old hotels on the island from traditional family to luxury adult only. Portinatx which was full of family hotels, has just one left, the others have been all upgraded to adult only. In San Antonio a number of big refurbishments have taken place including the Mambo groups new project Las Mimosas, The Paradiso and the new LGBT Hotel Axel Beach. I have just mentioned three but there are more and plenty in the pipeline.
Changing Social Demographics
Traditionally Spain, the UK and Germany were the big three tourist nationalities on the island, but in recent years the German market is in decline. With the increase in prices, one would expect the UK family market to decline, but it was interesting to read that Jet2, the UK’s second largest package tour operator, has extended its Ibiza summer season with additional flights for September and October when prices are lower. The Dutch market continues to grow and there are a lot of people from Holland investing in property and business on the island. The French are also re-discovering Ibiza this summer and as usual, the Italians retain their strong presence, especially in Formentera, where they own the island during the summer. There has also been growth in the American and Scandinavian markets.
To conclude on trends this summer in Ibiza so far. A lot of talk and anecdotal evidence from vested interests and very little in the way of figures from the official bodies, namely AENA to judge how many people are coming through Ibiza Airport and The Hoteliers Association on official occupancy rates. Normally, we would have those official statistics out by now but while there are some deals about, I am not seeing the wide scale 40% or 50% discounts on Hotel Rooms that some hoteliers are personally quoting. Maybe the product they’re offering is not appealing to the current market?
Pricing is an issue but mainly with the lower to mid market. With elections looming, there is a lot of political maneuvering and Kite flying at play, so I would take anything I hear outside official figures, with a pinch of salt. Ibiza is in a state of flux and change right now, as a new digital generation arrives on its shores, how the island adapts to their habits, is the real litmus test for its future. I have always had faith in Ibiza and believe that it’s the people that change, not the island.
Update: 24/7/18 Official June stats show Ibiza enjoyed the highest Hotel occupancy rate in Spain as UK passenger figures also increase.