|Es Vedra Open all Year|
The traditional season for tourists in Ibiza, is May to the end of September. A years economic revenue packed tightly into five busy months. This trend helps to inflate summer prices, as business in Ibiza needs to earn enough cash in the busy months, to pay for the seven months when the Island shuts down for tourism purposes. This economic subsidy, along with the hectic working schedule of the people involved in the local tourism industry, is taken as the norm on the Island but some local business people now feel its time for a change of direction.
Its hard for industrious and motivated business owners in Ibiza to watch their Hotels, Bars and Restaurants sit bone idle for seven months as they wait for the tourists to arrive back on the Island in May. It may not be such an issue for the big chains but for the local, family owned business, its a problem. Over 95% of Hotels in Ibiza close during the winter months. Staff are unemployed and nothing is stirring apart for local trade. But, what has changed to make Ibiza unattractive to tourists October to May? The easy answer is “The tourists wont come” to fill the rooms but when a person looks at the fundamental assets of the Islands core business, they have not changed.
The beautiful scenery of the Island, the warm hospitality of the local people, the good food, the beaches, the marine life, the sunsets, the heritage, the sea, the light, the culture, the infrastructure, the walks, the sports, the peace, the air, and that special Ibiza atmosphere, all belong to the Island 12 months of the year. OK the sunshine and warmth factor is important but already October this year has seen temperatures of 35C with clear blue skys and deserted beaches. December and January can be quiet cold and chilly in Ibiza but most of Europe suffers from the same problem and this does not stop cities like Paris, Prague, Barcelona, Dublin and London attracting a steady stream of tourists to their city break markets. Also these cities cannot lay claim to the rich, historical tapestry dating back to 600BC and encompassing six unique cultures, that Ibiza can.
Spring in Ibiza is simply beautiful, as the Almond tree blossom blooms new life and vigour into the air. There is a clear market here for romantic, walking, fishing, activity and nature breaks, something that Ibiza has in abundance. The Easter and mid term school holidays soon follow and before you know it, May and the summer season are just around the corner again. All Ibiza needs to do is to establish a Christmas and New Year “Event” so as to “shoulder” the incoming November and December months and the outgoing January and February months. With the worlds best Clubs in Situ, one would think that there was an opportunity for a week long Christmas/New Year Party season attracting the best DJ’s to promote the Islands off season trade. One of Ibiza trademarks is that it also knows how to party, so attracting like minded people would not be hard.
The building blocks for at least a 10 month season are there but for some reason the Island seems reluctant to develop it. Maybe its because they want to keep the best of the Island to themselves, so that they can enjoy the true beauty of Ibiza in peace and quiet without the tourists. Maybe its because no firm initiative or structured plan has been explored or put in place. Only recently, Ryanair were subsided by local Government to open up the winter route and test the market. Also an excellent plan called Ibiza Slow Breaks was launched to highlight the fundamental assets of the Island. It lasted all but one season before the powers that be cancelled the route maintaining that it was a failure.
A failure to put a structured, long term plan in place? A failure to develop a detailed strategy and business plan going forward? A failure to communicate, market and sell its natural assets to a potential new target market?….. We are not sure what failure they refer to, but one can say that the cart was put before the horse and joined up thinking seems to be lacking. There are people in Ibiza who are passionate about their Island, who know only too well that they can attract and develop a winter market to the Island. They know its not going to be easy. Few new business ventures are successful in the first years of trading, its takes time. Time to build up the brand, so that people are aware of its existence and what it has to offer. Ibiza needs to publicise that its still alive and not hidden like a Mediterranean Brigadoon only to reappear once again on the social radar for the Opening parties in May.
These local people possess a simple love of Ibiza, fresh ideas, energy and a vision for a new Ibiza, a place where a tourist is welcomed all year round. They reflect what is good about the Island. All they require is support and recognition and a willingness by Government to strategically develop an extended season. It will take more than throwing a few euro at an Airline, in the hope that it might bring extra visitors to ascertain if it can be a success. It will require professional consultancy and a new way of thinking outside the box. As an Ibiza Destination Expert for Tripadvisor, I get to answer many inquiries from Tourists like myself, who want information about Ibiza off season. The interest is definitely there, provide a suitable product, package it and I am confident that they would come. I know I would but then I am a tourist, so what would I know……….