Welcome To The New Ibiza
Wow – what an eventful 10 days it’s been. Just when the clubbing industry in Ibiza thought things couldn’t get any worse, a dirty bomb was dropped onto the remaining hopes of those whose living depends on a short five month season. The air raid sirens sounded last Sunday when the British Government suddenly announced that all UK passengers returning from Spain would have to self-quarantine for 14 days with immediate effect.
The ex pat community in Ibiza, made up mainly of self contained British subjects, were shell shocked, describing the move as “baffling, frustrating, bizarre, inept, corrupt and stupid” It was like a modern day London Blitz for UK nationals living on the island, but this time around it wasn’t a foreign aggressor attacking their season, it was their very own Prime Minister, who cut off vital supply and reinforcements to its troops on the front line, in the process weakening, rather than strengthening the British community abroad which has been left hung out to dry in the hot Mediterranean sun.
While many raced around like headless chickens, some fought back, defending the island and its tourism sector from further damage. More like Micheal Caine than Winston Churchill, the unlikely hero of the hour was the wiley, Andy McKay of Ibiza Rocks, who led a spirited Rourkes Drift styled defense, describing the management of the situation as a “cluster fuck” and stating the reason why Downing street did not change the FCO travel advice for the islands, was to permit “the tour and insurance companies from refunding peoples holidays”. He urged friends of Ibiza to sign a petition which quickly attracted 77,000 signatures and two days later, the effort was rewarded when Downing Street changed its mind again and moved Ibiza back onto the non essential travel list.
However the Pirates in Ibiza were rubbing their hands with glee over the prospect of an opportunity laden season which they viewed as ripe for picking without the competition of the clubs and hotels. Some were quick to organise and sell a series of illegal private Villa Parties, with senior DJs like Martin Solveig and Bob Sinclare touted on a €80 villa ticket, leading one to suspect a French connection to an attempted Covid heist. However, local resident groups like PROU ( which means enough in Catalan) stated they would denounce any venue or villa that held illegal gatherings but this failed to stop the Villa parties due to a Spanish law that requires Police to be in possession of a warrant before they can enter a private home in Spain.
Under the state of alarm introduced by the Sanchez Government, emergency legislation was enacted that now permits police to enter a tourist villa without a search warrant, a development I’m sure the big hotel chains are delighted with as they have been trying for years to regulate the private villa market in Ibiza. Going forward, tourist Villas will be treated like any public hotel on the island thanks to the stupidity of a few greedy capitalists, who were willing to play Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun. This tactic was also replicated in San Antonio where a number of foreign businesses defied local health warnings, the big two offenders being Ocean Beach and Amnesia. Ocean Beach is currently under sanction and I would expect Amnesia to also pay penance for its sins, but that’s a story for a later date, as Ibicencos are masters at allowing enough rope for those foolish to hang themselves without any state assistance.
A DJ playing in a mask is just wrong – it sends out all the wrong messages
While I completely understand the knee jerk reaction to remain open to try and make a living, paddling a canoe upstream in a gale force storm, is just asking for trouble and those that opened are dealing with plenty of complaints regarding the restrictive offering – one that is covered in masks, fines and no dancing. I respect those that were brave and opened, but why post video and images of clearly empty and dead venues on social media? It’s doing nothing to enhance a brand, in my opinion it’s creating an opposite effect.
It’s funny, because when I worked in that industry in Ibiza, I was informed that it was sinful and against all good social media practice to post content reflecting empty venues, but we are living in strange and uncertain times so normal logic goes out the window I suppose. The position taken by the Matutes Group, of closing down all their club related businesses for the season to protect their brand, in the process disassociating themselves from the restrictive masks and Covid19 related images was a clever move, but they can afford to sit out a season, many cannot but thats Ibiza for you – its not an easy place to run a business.
Watching a DJ playing in a mask is just wrong – it sends out all the wrong messages especially on an island known for its wild abandon. That said, don’t write off Ibiza 2020 just yet and if your planning to visit this September, October or November as a non clubbing holiday, then I feel there will be plenty of good deals available for British tourists on the island, as Boris could drop the quarantine requirement as fast as he introduced it.
As I type this blog, it’s been exactly 105 days since the island registered a Covid 19 death,
To date, the Balearic Government continues to do an exemplary job protecting the island from further outbreaks of Covid 19. As I type this blog, it’s been exactly 105 days since the island registered a Covid 19 death, thanks to a strict lockdown and closure of its world famous clubscene. This low risk status, one of the best in Spain, has attracted the rich and famous in droves to the island.
While August is traditionally a popular month for the National and celebrity market, this summer has seen a noticeable influx of private boats and jets which have booked out all the high end restaurants two days in advance, with long ques of people waiting for a table at popular venues like Hostal La Torre on the West Coast and the overrated La Bodega tapas bar in Ibiza town.
The majority of the entry cost mass tourism hotels and bars have remained closed thanks to the absence of the German, Italian and British market but the high end and luxury rooms in smaller hotels and agrotourismos have all sold out. It’s impossible to find a mooring in Ibiza and the island is looking for new docking ports to accommodate the demand from the luxury yacht sector.
For the past few years, rumours that San Antonio will move all the water taxi and tourist boat cruises located in front of the egg monument to further down the Bay, gathers pace rather than slowing down, that’s why real estate in this area is highly sought after right now as a bar or restaurant facing a Sunseeker yacht is much more valuable that one facing a glass bottom boat to Es Vedra. So as we speak, Ibiza is fully booked out at the top end of the market. It’s very difficult to secure a table in any of the island’s best restaurants and all the partying is taking place aboard the yachts on international waters.
The British businesses in San Antonio are under siege from Catalan and Spanish forces and like The Alamo, were in desperate need of reinforcements from London which failed to dispatch thanks to The Tories, who threw them under a bus like they did with the DUP in the North Of Ireland. The Union does not seem to be a priority for Boris Johnson and his wealthy friends, so the Brits in Ibiza will have to fend for themselves like the Loyalists in Ireland who cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel.
Will the Brits in Ibiza be taken as hostages of fortune by the Spanish in Brexit negotiations over Gibraltar? Who knows but I feel this political game of football, which includes the clubs and disputes over land rights and property, will play out over the winter, as many people who rely on the clubbing industry and British tourists will not be in a position to pay their high rent and bills come next Spring as a very different 2021 season looms on the horizon, especially for those who are no longer protected under the rights of the European Union.
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