Ibiza 2021 Preview
Welcome to our first preview of the Ibiza 2021 season, a pivitoal season for the trendy island of Ibiza. In this preview we will look at these following sectors;
- Hotels and Villas
- Living With Covid
- Tips On Booking Ibiza 2021
In Part II we discuss the remaining issues as they are reflected on the ground currently. There are a lot of people jockeying for position right now and the season ahead is going to be a colourful one and as this is Ibiza anything could happen.
We will try our best to reflect the issues and incidents that will concern tourists but at this very early stage, it would be wise not to make any definate plans and wait to see what transpires.
“It will be Palma, not Ibiza that will decide if the clubs can open next season”
The current political situation in Spain is gravitating towards volatility rather than stability and while Ibiza is an isolated position in the country’s political wars, national politics are set to shape the cultural direction of the island. This unstable political situation is already worrying the EU but on the island of Ibiza, those civil war divisions are not so evident thanks to the influence of the powerful Matutes Family, owners of the islands largest Hotel Chain, Palladium Hotel Group and with major shareholdings in Hi, Privilege and valuable land banks. The Matutes family are loyal supporters of the monarchy and dyed in the wool PP members, a party currently waging a nasty war of words with Pedro Sanchez’s socialist Government. This weeks Bank Holiday Weekend shut down of Madrid, which overruled a Spanish Courts ruling, has only heightened tensions on the ground as Madrid was blamed for the transmission in Ibiza.
The PP party in Spain would be equivalent to the Tories in the UK, supporters of big business and capitalism and with a network of powerful and influential friends especially in the corridors of power. Their far right cousins VOX are a natural coalition partner and are itching to claim back what they view as a birthright, their privilege to rule. Normally it’s business as usual in Ibiza when the PP are running the show, but they are out in the cold for another 4 years, as Pedro Sanchez and his rebel alliance infiltrate Madrid and Palma, where old scores are currently being settled fueling the rise of the far right and stirring the blood of the Franco regime.
The Matutes Group have most to loose from the economic crisis as they are heavily leveraged into the tourism and entertainment industry not just in Ibiza, but around the World. In my opinion, they will be the main drivers in the push to reopen the nightlife industry in Spain next summer. They will be supported by the respected Pissenem Brothers over at the Night League, but they will have to kiss the socialist ring of Palma, if they are to convince the health conscious Balearic government to go along with their plans to open indoor clubs this summer, after a deliberate and premature poke of their 2021 program into the mix two months ago. To its credit, the company have behaved impeccably to date, supporting its community by donating buildings to hospitals and announcing plans to support local producers to encourage sustainability in all of their hotels.
In San Antonio, where we will witness much development, the PP control power supported by the San An British Business Association, a Dads Army of online agitators and English tourist bar owners who are been forced out of their leases in the West End. They led a classic Charge Of The Light Brigade attack on Public Health restrictions with an Ibiza Is Happening campaign, a poorly executed affair that would not look out of place in Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch. A senior figure and financer in that collective had his business and staff linked to a Covid19 outbreak which further damaged local relations and led to an embarrassing second lockdown in the town.
The same faces continue to politically attack and complain about Palma and Sanchez, which in my experience, gets you nowhere but the back of the line in Ibiza. Palma have consistently proven to be on the side of health and safety and it will be Palma, not Ibiza that will decide if the clubs open next season. In Catalonia, the regional Government there have announced plans to reboot and support their nightlife industry, but on the islands its a different matter, with distrust rather than support being offered to the industry. Throw into the mix the Brexit situation and there could be a perfect storm brewing over the Balearics next summer.
An interview with Abel Matutes Jnr discussing options for the Ibiza 2021 season
“they will look elsewhere to earn income if the nightlife industry is slow to recover”
Closely linked to politics is culture and this summer will be remembered by the Ibicencos as the year of change. While Ibiza is a Catalan administered island, the Balearic Catalans are not as radical as their independant Barcelona neighbours. They enjoy making profits but their lives are not controlled by it and word around the local campfires is that they would prefer to wait at least another season to be fully sure its safe to open the indoor clubs. It may be a surprise to some, but the majority of local Ibicenco business on the island did well this season, without the mass club market in attendance, especially those serving the national market.
They are now talking about Ibiza returning to the old days of just two clubs on the island, KU and Pacha and are not on side like they used to be with the cavileer element of the party market. They know only too well how difficult it is to control young people under the influence of alcohol and drugs and the impression I’m getting is that the industry has lost the financial goodwill it once enjoyed with the local population after the behaviour of certain profiteers linked to that market this summer.
The old chestnut bandied about in Ibiza, that without clubbing tourists the island would not survive, was well and truly debated this summer, with the resulting consensus that the island can indeed do better for itself. The Covid restricted season has hastened the discussion around what direction their tourism model should take as dark clouds hang over the ability of the nightlife industry to recover quickly. The Ibicencos are fast to adapt to any changing economic environment around them and they will look elsewhere to earn income if the nightlife industry is slow to recover. Influential resident groups like GEN and PROU will continue to lobby for less tourists and if they are successful, the easiest way to do this is to retire the mass tourism model and increase prices to cater to the luxury, independant market.
“the clubbing sector may have to chill in the shadows this season“
What has been evident over the last number of years, has been the change in direction of the islands traditional family friendly tourism model. Family hotels are in real danger of extinction as their tired and owners sell up to the adult market. A real example of this is the islands most northerly resort of Portinatx, where less than 5 years ago 90% of the Hotels were family friendly hotels. Today, the same 90% are Adults Only a complete turnaround. The island is worried about the economy and any recession that may follow another lockdown but that did not stop Ibiza from having one of its best seasons ever back in the middle of the Lehman Brothers recessionin 2009.
While the mass tourism market is going to need extra time to recover, local business are weighing up their options as to whether to adapt, or to sell up and get out altogether. There is a real change of the old guard as Hippy Ibiza and its parental crowd are being pushed out in favour of new ideas, markets and concepts. Outdoor, cultural, sporting and marine activities are growing in popularity especially with the National market as is the Yoga, Detox, Health, Vegan and Spiritually sector for young couples and soul travellers.
While the clubbing sector may have to chill in the shadows this season, I expect other Ibiza hospitality sectors to bloom with a more independent and educated market. I would also not rule out a longer season, as all fresco events increase in popularity and that old plan of the Matutes group to build a golf course and shopping center in PDB could make the agenda again. I predict Ibiza will only increase in price not decrease, so I feel it will become the preserve of the wealthy, who have been quietly making the island their own for the past ten years.
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