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Local News in Ibiza

Local News
by Louise Wright

Ibiza Tourism Statistics

Ibiza Local News

Welcome to a new edition of Local News in Ibiza. As you may well know, this is the height of the summer season in Ibiza, when all the hotels are full to capacity and the discotheques reach record ticket sales. This is the time of year that allows people to decide whether the season has been 'good' or 'bad', if the streets are less busy than last summer, if the beaches are less crowded... everyone uses the month of August as a reference on just how well the summer is going.

The airport uses the 15th and 16th August as a guide to determine whether the tourist industry has increased or decreased in comparison to previous years. These dates are especially significant to the airport considering that it is the middle of the month and they coincide with a national holiday that should increase the number of tourists and flights. A total of 49,922 tourists from 346 flights passed through the airport this year on these two days. These figures reveal a slight drop of 320 people in comparison to this time last August, even though the second week of this month registered an increase of passengers of 1.29%.

A recent survey done by the airport has revealed that when these figures are broke-down, the British market is the most important for Ibiza's tourism bringing 38.7% of the total tourist industry that visits the island in a year. The Germans follow with 26.3%, followed by the Spanish (11.9%), the Italians (8%) and, finally the French (4.9%).

Ibiza has definitely changed into one of the holiday destinations that attract tourists from all over the world.

Among all the airport's passengers, the most important new arrival was Mohamed Usman, a baby born at 8,000 metres above Ibiza.

Sani and Rahina Usman are Nigerian and were both travelling on the flight Ivory Coast-Amsterdam when eight months pregnant Rahina went into labour. Lucky enough one of the passengers on the plane was a doctor that attended Rahina's every need. The doctor informed the crew on board about the necessity of landing at the nearest airport, which in this case was Ibiza, so that Rahina could be taken to hospital before she gave birth. But it was too late, Rahina could not wait that long and so baby Mohamed was born at four o'clock in the morning on Monday 13th on the seats of the KLM travel company airline.

If Mohamed had been born as predicted, three weeks later, the Usman family would have been in England as they were flying to London via Amsterdam. The objective of this trip was to make sure that their son was born in England to assure that he would have British nationality. But destiny brought them to Ibiza making Mohamed a Spanish citizen with a difference.

August is also becoming a characteristic busy month for the Capitanía Marítima (Harbour Department) who have registered record breaking numbers of boats, yachts, ferries and cruise ships occupying the Ibiza port.

The most significant figures, reported by the Ferry Company Umafisa Lines, have been the amount of cruise ships that this year chose Ibiza as one of their many destinations.

This year has seen a total of 90 cruise ships, a slight increase in comparison to last years 88.

Another fact revealed by Umafisa Lines shows that the last cruise ship to visit Ibicencan waters this summer will be on the 30th November, proving that the summer season is becoming longer each year.

Capitanía Marítima also informed that the number of private yachts docked in the Ibiza port are also on the up, forcing the port officials to turn-down lots of regular customers that, instead of making reservations, ring the port at the last minute hoping to find a place for their luxurious water homes.

More figures on the up are those of cars. Although all summer traffic congestion is usually blamed on the local 'rent a car' companies, most of the cars that arrive on the island are brought over by tourists or seasonal workers that bring over their own personal cars.

Ibiza's traffic chaos is caused mainly because, on top of the 90,000 vehicles that are registered on the island, we have to add hundreds of other cars that arrive every day on the main ferries coming from Denia, Valencia, Barcelona and Mallorca ports.

During the height of the season, up to 730 new cars a day arrive in Ibiza which means that, on average during the summer, our island is inundated with 22,000 new cars a month, causing huge traffic jams on the main entrances and exits of the busiest towns.

On the other hand, the 'rent a car' companies have criticised that all the traffic problems are blamed on them when it is in fact the Govern balear (Balearic Government) that should control the amount of vehicles allowed on the island.

As usual, the sun, sea and Ibiza magic has attracted societies 'jet-set'. A whole new crowd of famous faces have visited our island in the past few days. The first VIP on my list is the president of the Spanish Government who arrived on the island on Friday 10th August at 23:30 hours.

José María Aznar and his wife Ana Botella arrived in a military aeroplane (for security reasons) to spend a long weekend aboard the 'Aiglón', a luxury yacht belonging to the ex-Vice President of the Spanish Government, Abel Matutes. The presidential couple attended a private party in Abel Matutes' house before boarding the 'Aiglón' at three o'clock in the morning to spend the night at sea.

Aznar and his wife spent all-day Saturday and Sunday visiting the nicest beaches along the Ibicencan coasts as well as spending time at their favourite island, Formentera.

The president of the Government left Ibiza on Sunday 12th August to travel back to Menorca where he and his family are spending their entire summer vacations.

Another popular celebrity who has showed his face in Ibiza is Bono, the famous Irish lead-singer from the band U2. Bono decided that Ibiza would be a good place for a quick break after one of his concerts in Barcelona, so he made the short journey from mainland Spain just to visit Pacha discotheque. In Pacha he met-up with fellow celebrities such as supermodel Elle McPherson, artist Lorenzo Quinn and rapper Puff Daddy. Bono apparently spent the night on a friend's yacht before departing first thing in the morning. It is believed that the popular singer managed to spend nearly 2.000.000 pesetas in Pacha's VIP area, all in all an expensive night out.

One of the big surprises of the summer has been a short visit from the 68-year-old British actress Joan Collins. The evil 'Alexis' from the eighties hit series 'Dynasty' spent a day touring the Mediterranean Sea aboard the North-American yacht 'Gemini'.

Joan Collins has been seen in different Mediterranean locations over the years but I believe that this was her first time cruising on Ibicencan waters, and no doubt will not be her last.

Another 'star' that has been causing a scene is Sean 'Puffy' Combs, better known as singer/actress Jennifer Lopez's ex-boyfriend Puff Daddy. The New York rapper caused quite a stir at the port in Ibiza Town when he decided to through his own private party aboard the 'Samax', one of the most luxurious yachts that have docked in the port this summer.

Crowds of on-lookers, attracted by the loud music, gathered outside the entrance to the 'Samax' hoping to catch sight of the star. Two of the biggest and most threatening bodyguards you have ever seen, dressed in black suits, made sure that the crowds of curious people did not get anywhere near 'Puffy'. The rapper, famous for his violent out-breaks, seemed to be perfectly relaxed and happy aboard his yacht, 'Puffy' even had time for a quick manicure before his evening meal. Rumour has it that among 'Puffy's' guests for dinner were supermodel Claudia Schiffer and Julio José Iglesias, son of the famous Spanish singer Julio Iglesias.

After an 'all-star' dinner, Puff Daddy abandoned the 'Samax' for a night clubbing in Pacha discotheque.

It has been a bad week for the Guardia Civil (Civil Guards) police. A technical study has revealed that the Guardia Civil's headquarters in San Jordi, home to more than fifty families with a police connection, will have to be knocked down as soon as possible as this building is considered to be a danger to all its occupants. The building, which has been a home for all the Guardia Civil personnel for many years, should be emptied before 2002 to avoid any possible incidents.

The Guardia Civil's house district was built in the mid 1960s and, after the first report was issued ten years ago declaring that the building was unsafe, lots of people thought that it would not be long before this building ended in disaster. Ten years on and it is still standing but the situation has become so serious that the fifty families are demanding a solution to this never-ending problem. The Administrative director of the State, Marienna Sánchez-Jáuregui, has assured the people that they will be able to occupy the old army barracks of sa Coma once the military service stops operating in 2002.

The new week has also brought bad news for the local supermarket chain Diskont that decided on Monday 13th August to close half of their many shops on the island. They have revealed that behind this shocking decision lies the problem of too many large supermarket companies arriving on the island offering bigger, better and cheaper services to the local clients.

As promised in last week's edition, here goes an update on the MTV Ibiza summer festival. The controversy surrounding the event has forced MTV to look for a new solution after the Lord Mayor of San Antonio, Antoni Marí Tur, and the Consell Insular (Island Council) refused to grant a licence for the music festival to be held in the San Rafael Hippodrome.

The latest development in the story is that the concert will still be held on the 29th August but at a different location, the San Rafael discotheque Privilege that has a legal capacity for 4,000 people.

Although this new plan has not yet been confirmed, it seems to be the only solution that will keep the San Rafael neighbours, the local politicians and MTV Europe happy. More next week.

Louise Wright