The Pretty Fishing Town of San Antonio Ibiza

Local police in San Antonio, along with security companies hired by private hoteliers and bar owners, are starting to tackle the problems associated with the popular Ibiza resort. For many of the residents who live alongside the influx of tourists in the summer months, its not such a holiday experience. A culture clash fuelled by the excesses of youth, quarantines the resort from the rest of the island. Many Ibicencos stay well clear of the town during the tourist season and only visit by necessity. Some are thankful that it keeps its young stereotypical clientèle confined within its boundaries, but the majority are not happy that is attracts such negative publicity to the island as a whole. In the wake of the Peru drug muling story, police and local businessmen are stepping up their campaign to clean up the town. The resort of Playa Den Bossa would have a similar but older clientèle and it does not experience the same acute problems that San Antonio does.

It’s the social behaviour of certain holidaymakers that is causing the problem. Excessive drinking and drug taking has been responsible for ten deaths already this season, mainly from balcony falls and drownings. There is nothing worse than to loose a loved one in a foreign country and sadly many people in Ibiza are becoming sanitised by its regularity each season. The recklessness and experimental nature of youth is one of life’s most enjoyable periods and trying to curtail and regulate this free spirit is very hard to do. Police resources in Ibiza are stretched beyond their limits during the summer months and nobody knows this better than the dealers, prostitutes and petty criminals who take advantage of it. A group of local businessmen, including Javier Anadon of Cafe Mambo, whose aim it is to provide a quality product in San Antonio, have funded a private security company to patrol the streets in the centre of the town. The blog understands that it costs a minimum of €5k a month to finance. They have also requested that San Antonio is classed as a tourist zone, so that more police can be allocated to the area. The Guardia Civil have also been busy in recent weeks, raiding drug dealers and shutting down their operations. Curtailment of opening hours in the West End, is now being enforced by police.

A new strategy to clean up the area and safeguard the future of San Antonio as one of the islands most alluring resorts, is trying to break through the political and economic issues that have held back progress in the past. The town has fallen victim to an over reliance on the cheap package tourist model since the 1970’s and it will not be easy for some to leave it behind, especially when the banks are not giving out loans to upgrade hotels. I have always maintained that education initiatives for young people, who seem to leave their brain at home when they go on holidays, could be rolled out to warn them of the effects of mixing drugs and alcohol in climates that their bodies are not used to. Publicity campaigns, supported by factual medical and safety information, could be handed out at the airport, or better still on the plane to make people aware of the number of deaths caused by overdoses, balcony falls and drownings. Prevention they say is always the best medicine. The cultural and language problem is a big issue that stands in the way of progress in this area. The people of Ibiza don’t want to be cleaning up other peoples mess all the time, so a structured way that combines a number of initiatives to tackle the one problem needs to be found. Kicking the can down the road in the hope that it will go away is not going to work any more. Lets hope that the present drive will find a long term solution for the benefit of both the holidaymaker and San Antonio.
Sant Antoni de Portmany from on Vimeo.