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Local News in Ibiza

Local News
by Louise Wright

Aftermath of September 11th

Ibiza Local News

A week after the terrorist attacks on America and the world is still suffering the devastating effects.

Our own Ibicenco newspapers are continuing to devote many pages of their daily publications to the aftermath of the New York and Washington atrocities.

The world economy is suffering and the fear of flying to America has caused the airline companies to lose millions of dollars. Many reservations have been cancelled because people no longer feel safe travelling by plane, and the fear of another terrorist attack turns the United States into an unlikely holiday destination. Air traffic has reduced 30% in comparison to the week previous to the attacks.

The Ibicenco travel agencies, like most around the world, have suffered a drastic fall in holiday bookings, especially to America but also to Arabic countries.

"Not many people are willing to travel to places like Turkey, Egypt or Tunisia", says Antonio Torres, the president of the Asociacion de Agencias de Viajes de Eivissa (Ibiza's Association of Travel Agents). "These Arab countries have changed from being fine Mediterranean holiday destinations to strategic military locations over night and are now classed as 'danger zones". Ibiza residents are being asked to visit the Oficina de Informacion Diplomatica (Diplomatic Information Office), which is directly connected to the Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), before planning a trip to one of these countries. The Information Office will advise travellers which parts of these countries are safe for holidaymakers and, also what they should do in the event of a conflict.

Antonio Torres considers that, although the situation that exists today is bad for countries like Turkey and Egypt, it could have a positive effect on Ibiza tourism. Already reservations for holidays to the island for the month of October are on the increase and Torres says: "this is directly related to the terrorist attacks on the United States".

Ibiza has always been promoted as a safe and peaceful island, far away from conflict and, because the Balearic Islands form part of the European Union, many tourists trust it to be one of the safest places to spend their holidays. Although Torres believes that we may benefit in the short term, Ibiza will suffer negative effects to the tourist industry in the long term, and feels the necessity to remind the Ibicencan government that, even though the natural beauty of the island dominates over all the minor and transitive problems, Ibiza's authorities need to think about the kind of image we are projecting.

The transport strike at the start of this summer season, the rubbish collectors strike, the terrible shortage of taxis on the island, the problems in San Antonio and the non-compliance of the laws by some of the major discotheques, among other problems; must now be contemplated by the authorities.

For example, complaints about noise from Amnesia discotheque and the fact that they had not been respecting their official closing time forced the Lord Mayor of San Antonio, Antoni Marí Tur, to sign a closing order on the venue last week.

Amnesia was forced to close its doors for one day, but as the Lord Mayor emphasizes, "in future, if they do not respect the laws I will be forced to make them close for a longer period".

A spokesman for Amnesia said, "we were allowed to choose Sunday 16th September as the day to close and, even though this is not one of our busiest days, the financial loses will be significant".

Privilege, the largest discotheque on the island, also fell victim to San Antonio Council's enforcement of the laws. After repeatedly ignoring the official closing time, Antoni Marí Tur signed an order similar to the one for Amnesia. Privilege will have to close for one day this weekend.

Antoni Marí Tur wants to make all bar and discotheque owners realize that San Antonio Council is not going to stand by anymore and allow laws to be broken. We shall see.

The Asociacion de Empresarios de Salas de Fiestas de Ibiza y Formentera (Ibiza and Formentera's Discotheque Association) met with the Lord Mayor on Tuesday 18th September to manifest their disapproval of the implementation of the laws. Until now, Privilege and Amnesia discotheques, who regularly have as many as six thousand people in their venues at closing time, have been allowed to stagger the exiting of their customers to prevent a mass of people congregating on the main Ibiza to San Antonio road, one of the most dangerous roads in the Balearic Islands, because San Antonio does not have sufficient numbers of police officers to control these large crowds every night of the week.

Although the meeting lasted many hours, neither the Lord Mayor nor the Association's representatives reached an agreement.

The discotheques believe that they deserve more respect because they promote the island all around the world while Antoni Marí Tur believes that the discotheques and bars must be kept under control. Let us hope that they can resolve their differences before the start of the new summer season.

Rules and regulations do not seem to reduce the popularity of the island's discotheques. They are undoubtedly one of Ibiza's biggest tourist attractions as demonstrated by 100 French discotheque owners who arrived on the island this week to explore and discover what makes Ibiza's discotheques so unique.

Daily meetings at their Playa d'en Bossa hotel and visits to many different venues at night have kept the businessmen occupied through out their holiday.

Pacha, Amnesia, Privilege and Es Paradis discotheques have all been visited by the French discotheque owners to enable them to gather as much information as possible about Ibiza's night life which will be analysed later when they return to France.

The director of the group, Phil Borgogno, believes that they have a lot to learn from Ibiza. "What we really want is to discover the secret of your success and to find comparisons between France and Ibiza".

This is the second year that the businessmen have visited Ibiza and proves how influential the island's nightlife is for all those involved in the dance music business around the world.

Just a quick reminder that Ibiza Town and part of San Antonio will be closed to all cars and motorbikes on Saturday 22nd September to celebrate the "European Day without cars". From 10 o'clock in the morning to 8 o'clock in the evening, cars will not be allowed to circulate in the centre of Ibiza Town, and from 11 o'clock in the morning until 7 o'clock in the evening part of San Antonio will also be "car free". Ibiza Town Hall will help motorists by providing two buses that will circulate around the town's car parks and transport people to the centre.

It is hoped that the "European Day without cars" that is being celebrated in all European cities will give people the chance to explore different modes of transport. It will also be an ideal opportunity for some of us to get some exercise by walking, cycling, etc. I am off to dust down my roller skates. See you next week!

Louise Wright