Ibiza 2020. A Private Affair.

As the island of Ibiza prepares itself for the belated opening of its Covid 19 impacted 2020 season, it is in a healthy position do so. The local Government have done an excellent job keeping the virus contained and prioritising the health of its citizens. The health and well being of the international and multi-billion brand that is Ibiza, is the second most important factor for the islands business sector, especially those in the luxury end who look set to do the majority of business this summer, focusing on the National Spanish market.

The company leading the way in this direction is the Matutes Group, who to date have quietly managed the Covid 19 crisis with professional and safe hands, knowing its cosmopolitan market is very sensitive to health and safety and low risk, well managed environments. Rumours suggest that the Matutes Group who are the owners of the island biggest Hotel Chain, will not open their clubs at Hi or Privilege due to the high risk associated to mass indoor gatherings and  this is setting the tone for others to follow

Simon Dunmore of Defected Records claimed the selling of online tickets for Ibiza2020 club events was reckless, commenting that

“UK residents are subject to quarantine meaning we are in no position to consider any activity. Guidelines laid down by the clubbing association are stringent and counter any kind of positive clubbing experience. It’s going to be weeks if not months I’m afraid”
Ibiza 2020 A Private affair

Ibiza is a very shrewd and sharp reader of its hospitality sector and they have already designed a plan to adapt to the changing times.

It matches that of the direction the island has been taking for the last five years, the medium to high end VIP product.

Rumours abound of Ibiza charters already being booked via private jets and boats owned by wealthy Spanish clients, many of whom own holiday homes on the island. The high end restaurants that have already opened are full of Spanish tourists and that trend is expected to sustain the island this summer and become the dominant sector as the UK wrestles with Brexit and Covid19.

It matches that of the direction the island has been taking for the last five years, the medium to high end VIP product. Private chefs are in demand and those who work in catering, say that its all about luxury, big spenders this season, with clients from European tax havens like Geneva making bookings for private villas and boats.

Like the last recession in 2008, the wealthy it seems, are ready and waiting to enjoy a tourist free island this summer and reservations in many upmarket venues that ensure discretion and privacy are strong.

Luxury villas are discounting their rates but passing on these discounts into the Spanish National market which is responding to the call from Ibiza to visit and Holiday at home this summer which is stirring the high end property market.

The mass tourism market is not a priority this year, so I would guess this sector will be left to its own devices to a certain extent. While it was easy to close, its turning out to be much harder to re-open under the current restrictive measures. Hotels will try not to dilute their prices, but I would expect to see rates dropping by mid July,especially if the National tourists don’t travel. Local Government have been steadfast in their policy of prioritising health and safety over the economy and will not want to put pressure on their hospitals and public services or be seen to damage brand Ibiza in any way. The Covid 19 timeout is a perfect opportunity to trial a different hospitality concept and test how the island adapts to not having the clubs open.

There is a growing lobby to distance the island from the low end, mass tourism product that sustained it for decades and climate change is now becoming more of an issue. All heads will be turning towards the Matutes group to see what they do next. Alongside their musical division, headed up by Yann and Roman Pissenem, the Matutes group are playing their ace high cards very close to their chests. I get the impression they will be fast out of the starting blocks, with a ready to go Covid 19 business model once the official starting gun on the season is fired on July 1. While others are trying to retro-fit their old business models, I would not be surprised to see the Mautes/Pissenem alliance unveil something new, as they would be ahead of the game politically, due to their close association with the PP party.

So to sum up on the season ahead. While Amnesia have suggested that they will open they are the only club to”officially”sell tickets online for Ibiza 2020, albeit with a caveat that they can also be used for 2021

Attitudes are set to change post Covid 19, as the local Spanish population re-claim their island for National tourism, quality over quantity direction. Ibiza is such a wealthy island, they can afford to pick and choose the nationalities they allow in. From July 1, Ibiza will start by sanctioning 3000 German tourists as a logistical test run of its Covid19 holiday experience but without the risk of clubs being open in their traditional format. At this stage, and from all what I am witnessing on the ground, I cannot see any of the clubs opening this summer as local police are currently adopting a tough approach to Covid 19 enforcement. Word around the campfires that non-national tenants of two well known tourist restaurants, one in Cala Vincent and another in Marina Botafoach were fined €20,000 for abuse of Covid 19 safety protocols,shows that law enforcement is set to come down heavy on any tourist operation this summer that fails to follow strict guidelines. The local bar and restaurants that open all year round will be ok, but the heat will be on tourist focused businesses to comply.

So please, do not shoot the messenger, when I voice my opinion that I now feel, there will be no party in Ibiza this summer. We have waited and waited to see how the cards would fall, but from listening and talking to all my contacts on the island, they are saying nothing is going to happen from a clubbing perspective this summer as the Ibiza does not want tourists who may have a careless attitude towards local culture, health and community. A recent House Party in Lleida Catalonia, was responsible for 271 new infections and that one incident forced the whole region to be relegated down a phase in its movements. For the island, I feel 2020 its all about protecting brand Ibiza, its clients and staff and to prepare for 2021, hoping that the virus will be just a bad memory come next season. In my opinion, Ibiza 2020 will be a very local and private affair, with traditional bars and restaurants all selling its famed Mediterranean and Catalan fare, open for business as usual but with the local and National clients. Service will be on point and sharp as there will be an abundance of local staff keen to work. Sadly its going to be a very tough 12 months for those working in the clubbing industry or relying on mass tourism, especially those unqualified to claim social welfare support.

Ibiza 2020, in my opinion, will be all about cleanliness and safety as quality is preferred over quantity, simply for the fact its easier to manage and provides much more freedom for National tourists to enjoy guiri free beaches, roads and restaurants. Those that understand and love the island, respecting local culture and its desire to protect its citizens, will be welcome on the island this season. Tourists who want to party will be discouraged, simply for the fact that its a high risk activity that could fuel a second lockdown, which would be catastrophic for the industry.

Now is not a time to be playing Russian Roulette with clubs, of course there are crazy, needy and greedy individuals who will try to push it, but I am of the opinion that if they try, they will find all bullet chambers loaded. Ibiza is taking a responsible, safe and measured approach to Covid 19, unlike other countries in Europe. Like times of old, when the island was raided and plundered by pirates, the Ibicencos will retreat to their barricaded, towers, fortresses and churches and defend from a safe and secure position on high ground.

They will wait it out until this Covid19 attack on their island has passed and then start to rebuild with confidence and strength for maybe an early start to next season, where shoulder months may come back into fashion once again. 

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