Ibiza 2022. The Clubs Roar Back To Life
If the island questioned the clubbing market’s value to its tourism model’s success for one second, Ibiza 2022 has removed all doubt as the crowds flocked to the opening parties and continued to pack out the clubs. With an early April start this season due to the Covid pandemic, which suffocated the sector for two years, there were plenty of apprehensions about the bounce effect of the clubbing market. However, those concerns were quickly put to bed as an international crowd of clubbers created long queues to enter the island’s clubs, ready to party like it was 1999.
So much so that the island was unprepared to cope with the crowds that descended for the opening parties with a shortage of Taxis and staff to service the surge. Beaches were crowded, reflecting the peak July and August months and popular restaurants introduced minimum spending rules to cope with the demand. The island’s clubbing sector breathed a deep sigh of relief as those without income for two years finally returned to work.
However, many tourists and staff were impacted by high costs, especially in the housing market, which is red hot with a severe supply shortage. The island is no longer a cheap place to holiday as prices have risen due to the pandemic with the hotel sector upgrading its business model to cater to higher purchasing clients. The family market is all but extinct except for pockets of traditional fare in resorts like Es Cana and San Antonio Bay. Ibiza has become a victim of its success. Gone are the days of Hippy freedom, peace and love as local family businesses are replaced by international corporate companies keen to trade on the trendy, clubbing-related brand Ibiza. As other resorts in Spain stutter back to life, Ibiza has been full-on since it opened its Balearic doors in April, and there seems to be no sign of a slowdown. In fact, in a recent survey, the Balearics registered as the most expensive location in Spain for holiday accommodation.
The island is experiencing a severe staffing shortage, with staff accommodation extremely difficult to find. Employers are blaming the Air B&B market for the lack of rooms available to workers, but poor working conditions and low wages have been an issue for many seasons as it’s simply not viable for staff to save any money during Ibiza’s six-month season. Traditionally, Ibiza staff would stay for the parties, save enough money to travel to Bali and other destinations during the winter months, and return in April. Before the turn of the decade, workers’ accommodation in Ibiza could be sourced for 300 per month. Now it’s double that amount and with wages for service staff, roughly 1200 a month, over 50% of their income is spent on accommodation. It’s easy to see why service staff are choosing other tourist destinations. This is causing a real crisis in the industry as Hotels, Clubs, and restaurants find it increasingly difficult to source professional staff.
The amount of money in your pocket now dictates where and when you can dine and the hotels you stay at. While minimum spends are not new, they are now increasing in popularity as businesses try to cope with less staff and extra demand. Mojitos have replaced pints of San Miguel as family hotels remodel their business to adult-only rooms that service the high-spending clubbing crowd who prefer more weekend breaks over the traditional weeks’ holiday in the sun. Clubs have also moved their schedules to reflect the changing market, with many of the most popular and trendy parties taking place on the weekends, traditionally the off-peak weekdays for DJs in Ibiza. Low-cost areas like The West End have been phased out with new laws to limit the consumption of cheap alcohol. Ibiza is a small island, and the burgeoning pressure on its natural resources due to the mass tourism market concerns local politicians. They seem to have taken the view that the best way to reduce the number of tourists visiting the island is to price out the lower end of the market, which they feel cause the most social problems.
The futures so bright I gotta wear shades”.
Politics are sure to play a significant factor in the future direction of the island. The next elections, due in a few years, will be exciting. If the socialists are returned to power, it will reflect a local government’s desire to continue with the current environment-friendly and sustainable tourism model. However, if the Tories of Spain, the PP party, regain their traditional control, it will reflect an appetite to encourage more business and development of tourist-related activities. The island’s most powerful family, the Matutes, who own substantial land banks, hotel chains and club interests, are dyed-in-the-wool PP supporters who employ the largest amount of workers in Ibiza. They are loyal supporters of Madrid and Rome, representing the crown’s interests on a Catalan-governed island. In my opinion, Ibiza is gravitating in the direction of Monaco as a principality region. In recent years, residents have reported increased military exercises and the amount of Guardia Civil patrolling the island.
This will only strengthen the power of the clubs and ensure their protection from environment-friendly groups campaigning for laws to limit noise pollution and opening hours. With a professional organisation, The Ibiza Leisure Association, now handling the industry’s lobbying and public relations aspects, the sector is on a very solid footing. In the words of Huey Lewis, “ the futures so bright I gotta wear shades”.
The old Destino Ibiza resort, located at Cap Martinet with privileged views of Formentera and Ibiza port, will be rebranded as Five Hotels Ibiza.
It was a Pirate ship that sunk, laden with treasure, coins and jewels in the port of Ibiza that lent the now-lost beach its name. Platja des Duros
The show’s production also didn’t disappoint, with the lights, lasers, fire and smoke cannons being some of the best we have seen at Ushuaia.