Welcome to August in Ibiza, one of the busiest
and hottest months of the season. This first week of August
sees various birthday celebrations and anniversaries for a
wide variety of people and companies.
The first birthday on the list has to be
MTV, the most popular music television channel in the
world, who are celebrating their 20th Birthday this week.
This year on the 29th August, as part of
their birthday celebrations, their Ibiza summer festival,
unlike the previous two years, will be held in the hippodrome
of San Rafael and not at San Antonio's Sa Pedrera (the quarry),
if the Consell Insular (Island Council) grant permission for
it to be held! The all-night event, featuring live performances
from Basement Jaxx, Faithless and other top
name groups and DJs, will be hosted by the famous New York
DJ Roger Sanchez and is being promoted as the biggest
open-air televised music event in the world and, although
MTV Europe have applied for all the permits and the licences
necessary, the Island Council have yet to approve their application.
One birthday bash that did not need a licence
was that of the English DJ Norman Cook, aka Fatboy
Slim, who celebrated his birthday on the island this week.
The party took place at Privilege discotheque on Monday 30th
July where his wife, ex-Breakfast Show host Zoe Ball,
stole the show by jumping out of a huge birthday cake in front
of her husband and 7,000 guests.
A birthday party that is missing from this
years list is that of Pino Sagliocco, the famous Italian
film producer, who owns a luxurious villa in San Rafael.
Sagliocco's birthday parties are
legendary on the island for the number of celebrities and
supermodels that attend each year. In a recent interview,
the famous film producer stated that he was unable to celebrate
his birthday on the island this year because of his mother's
recent illness. "This year we are celebrating in Italy
because my mother is unable to travel". This has disappointed
many people on the island, especially the paparazzi that benefit
greatly by photographing his many weird and wonderful guests.
The start of the new month also witnessed
a local newspapers fourth anniversary. Ultima Hora Ibiza
y Formentera, whose parent company Grupo Serra have
been publishing newspapers in Spain for numerous years, celebrated
1.460 editions of their daily newspaper on the 1st August
2001. Their circulation has increased so much during the past
four years that they now find it necessary to purchase new
offices in Ibiza. We wish them every success for the future.
This week also sees the commencement of
the countdown to "The Euro" which will be introduced
on 1st January 2002 (five months away!). Signs of the new
currency have started to appear in earnest this week with
the inauguration of a new campaign on the island. On Wednesday
1st August, a "Euro Ticket" was presented
to one of the oldest businesses in Ibiza Town, the jewellers
shop C'an Afro. This business can now boast of being the first
shop on the island to legally trade in the new European currency.
In the coming months, other businesses will
be presented with "Euro Tickets" as the campaign
gets under way to start making everyone aware of the impending
currency change. How the change will affect the day-to-day
life in Ibiza will soon be on everyone's mind, for example,
how will it affect the prices asked for property and accommodation.
Let's hope that the Euro will bring property prices back to
a realistic level.
Today, people that can afford it, are paying
rent of 125,000 pesetas a month (or more) for a one-bedroom
apartment in areas such as Port des Torrent but there are
those less fortunate who can not afford these prices and are
forced to search for alternative accommodation.
This is exactly what a group of 60 people
spending the summer on the island have done. The group of
mainly young people from Spain, the Czech Republic, Poland
and Argentina are camping in an old excursion venue, Sa Tanca,
on the outskirts of San Antonio because they can not afford
to pay the excessive prices that are being asked for accommodation.
But many others can.
This week has seen the influx of arrivals
from all over the world. This year, more than any other, the
non-European tourist industry is on the increase with Russian,
American, Australian and Canadian visitors arriving in greater
numbers than ever before.
This weekend will be especially busy for
Ibiza's airport with an estimated 57,400 passengers passing
through its doors. The airport authority has recently released
a plan to upgrade Ibiza's only airport.
A survey has estimated that by the year
2003, 5,200,000 passengers will use the airport and these
numbers will increase yearly. In order to deal with this massive
amount of new passengers, a number of improvements will be
made. The runways are to be upgraded, a new radar system will
be installed, a new heliport will be made, improvements made
to the access roads for the emergency services and numerous
improvements to the terminal buildings. The work is planned
to commence this winter.
The August influx of new faces has also
caused for urgent measures to be taken at Can Mises hospital;
the only Government funded national health hospital on the
island. Twelve extra people have been employed to cope with
the summer workload. Although the new staff is not employed
on a permanent basis, the hospital director said that they
would work at the hospital until things are back to normal.
Most businesses on the island expect August
to be their most profitable month, so it is nice to hear of
one business donating four nights of their profits this week
to the children of the island who suffer from Down's Syndrome.
Well done Coastline Cafe!
I started this week's column talking about
birthdays and celebrations so it would be amiss of me not
wish Happy 101st Birthday to the Queen Mother. Happy Birthday