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Local News in Ibiza

Local News
by Louise Wright

Hotels Federation

Ibiza Local News

Here I am again with another edition of Local News. The rain has started, the air is fresher, the streets are cleaner and everyone is more relaxed now that September has arrived.

The summer tourist season will soon be at an end and everyone who has survived another summer in Ibiza should have a certain feeling of accomplishment.

Officially the tourist season ends on the 30th October, but the Consell Insular (Island Council) and the Federacion Hotelera (Hotels Federation) hopes that in the future the beaches and the hotels will remain in use throughout the winter.

A new campaign aims to prolong the season by attracting a totally new type of tourists to the island for the winter months.

A two-hour meeting to discuss the new proposition originated by the Consell Insular was held on Wednesday 5th September.

The president of the Consell Insular, Pilar Costa, the councillor for Tourism, Josep Mari Ribas, and the director of the Federacion Hotelera, Joan Bufi, all attended to express their opinions about the new campaign that is expected to be in operation for the winter of 2002.

Josep Mari Ribas said: "the existing winter programme of activities would have to be extended if we wanted to attract a different type of clientele for the winter months".

Cultural excursions, classical music concerts, cycling routes, horse riding, nautical activities including diving lessons were some of the many proposals put forward as suggestions to attract more tourists in the "off" season.

"People that visit Ibiza in the summer think that nothing happens here in the winter", said Ribas, who is aiming to change this perception.

The president of the Federacion Hotelera, Joan Bufi, assured the Consell Insular that the hotels will back the new inactive 100%, but "a lot of effort will have to be made to make this work. We will need a lot more new ideas to insure that the campaign is a success".

The president of the Consell Insular, Pilar Costa, explained how beneficial winter tourism would be for the island's economy.

Let us hope that the campaign, which is in its primary stage, is a success and that the locals will be prepared to adjust to a longer tourist season.

This not only means more money for the workers in the tourist industry but also more complaints from residents about noise, etc. which some may not be prepared to tolerate as a lot of residents look forward to the peace and quiet of the winter time.

For some years now there has been plans to extend the tourist season but this initiative seems to be the most positive yet.

Let us hope that the tourist board has a better start with this campaign than they did with the start of this summer's campaign, when they planned to install a new tourist information office in Ibiza Town.

The new portable office, which was expected to be up and running at the start of the season, has still not arrived from mainland Spain. The councillor for Tourism for Ibiza Town Hall, Maurici Cuesta, has assured me that the new office will be open next week. Cuesta also added that "it is a shame that the office has not been open all season but at least it will operate for the 45 days or so that are left of the summer".

The new information office is portable and can be transferred to different parts of the island for different events, but until the end of this year it will remain in the Vara de Rey square in Ibiza Town.

Maurici Cuesta went on to mention that Ibiza tourist board is planning to be present at the same tourist fairs that they attended last year.

The World Travel Market in London is top of the tourist board's agenda for this winter as well as the ITB fair in Berlin. The Ibiza tourist board will attend these two important fairs as guests of the Balearic Tourist Association, but when they travel to the Madrid and Barcelona tourist fairs, Ibiza will have its own publicity stand.

One of the most important factors for English tourists planning to visit the island next year will be the change of currency.

The first consignment of Euro has already arrived in Ibiza. The Catalan bank Sa Nostra, acting on behalf of the Banco de España (Bank of Spain), received approximately 400 million pesetas worth of Euros (2,4 million Euro) between Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th September. This large amount of money, all in coins, will be divided between all the banks in Ibiza and Formentera.

Security was tight as bags and bags of new coins were delivered to the Sa Nostra bank in Ibiza Town. The director of the bank, Angel Lloreda, said that "a total of 1,500 million pesetas worth of Euros (9 million Euro) will be delivered to Ibiza and Formentera during the next few months (approximately 175 tons of coins)".

Saturday 15th December will be the first day people can go into their local banks and purchase a sample bag of the new Euro coins. The bag will contain 43 different coins, equivalent in value to 2,000 pesetas and it is hoped that this will give people a chance to get used to the new European currency before the official launch day of 1st January 2002 when the currency becomes legal tender throughout the European community.

The delivery date for the new Euro notes to Ibicencan banks is still to be confirmed, but the Bank of Spain has assured me that all banks will be fully stocked long before 1st January.

The Euro and the peseta will be in circulation side by side for a short period from 1st January to 28th February. The peseta will cease to be legal tender from 1st March 2002, but banks will still accept the peseta until 30th June to give people time to change the old for the new.

On the same day last week as the Euro arrived in Ibiza, one of Ibiza Town's jewellery shops experienced an unusual robbery. The method used by the robbers to enter the shop was originated in America and is called ram raiding. This form of robbery involves driving a vehicle, in this case a stolen BMW car, into the shop front, the occupants of the vehicle then help themselves to everything they can get their hands on as quickly as possible tossing all their loot into the car and making a speedy get-away.

This is the first ram-raiding robbery to have taken place in Ibiza and let us hope it is the last. Once again this proves that America leads the way, not only in the bad, but also in the good and one of the good things that has come from America to Ibiza this week are the hundreds of Harley Davidson motorbikes that are taking part in the Ibiza Bike Week.

The largest concentration of these bikes took place on the night of 5th September in the Recinto Ferial (Ibiza's exhibition centre) and, despite the rain, was a huge success. Accompanying the roar of the Harleys was the sound of the English heavy metal group Saxon, the German group U.D.O. and Statuas.d.Sal, a local Ibicencan rock group that at last have gained a huge following around Spain and Europe.

The bikers have also been travelling all around the island for many different reunions and parties, and some Ibiza residents have not taken to kindly to hundreds of motorbikes waking them up in the middle of the night and parking somewhat inconsiderably on the pavements. As a result of several complaints about the bikers, officers of the Guardia Civil (Civil Guards) have been patrolling the streets issuing fines of up to 100,000 pesetas to any biker parked on the footpath, not wearing a crash helmet or under the influence.

Just because some residents, whose tolerance levels are low at this time of year, complain about the bikers, most people on the island consider them to be advantageous to the island.

Some DJ's also fall into this category, especially the famous DJ's that took part in a series of four DJ competitions held at Coastline Cafe in San Antonio and organized by DJ Buff Wise, resident DJ at Manumission's 'Bar M' also in San Antonio.

The DJ's raised a grand total of 830,000 pesetas during the competitions which was donated by DJ Buff Wise on Sunday 2nd September to the Asociacion de Personas con Necesidades Especiales de Eivissa y Formentera (Ibiza and Formentera's Association for People with Special Needs).

It is nice to hear that these DJ's, who are normally frantically busy in the summer months can take the time and are willing to donate their services to worthwhile local charities. DJ Buff's example is one to follow.

Louise Wright