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
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
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
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.