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Local News in Ibiza

Local News
by Louise Wright

MTV Birthday

Ibiza Local News

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 Queen Mum!

Louise Wright