Ibiza has become famous through the years as an extremely popular tourist spot. Probably the most famous event in recent years has been the Ultra Music Festival, held once a year in Ibiza (as well as many other cities throughout the year).
The festival brings in thousands of people from around the world and many electronic dance music DJs. It is thought of as one of the biggest music festivals in the world. During its off-season, Ibiza has no shortage of tourists. With its beautiful beaches, thriving art scene, and shopping, it’s a stunning place to visit. However, the tourism lately has been leaving a lot of locals fairly peeved.
Ibiza currently gets almost three million people visiting each year, making over-tourism a giant problem. Frustrated with the rates of tourists coming into the small Spanish island, residents of Ibiza have taken to the streets to show their anger. 500+ people have showed up at protests against the over-tourism that has been taking over the city (though in fairness, it has been thriving since well before the 1990s as well). Protestors’ main issues have been with the rise in private beaches on the island, party boats, as well as increasing rent. Add to this the fact that there is more crime than ever before and constant noise around the city, and people are understandably angry. The island has been transformed from a beautiful and peaceful town to a rich tourist’s playground over the years and they are having none of it.
The group, Proul, which was in charge of the protest wants to make clear that they do not reject all sorts of tourism. However, they insist that tourism on the island should be limited, respectful, and not all the time. More than anything, they want to see a return to the traditional vibe of Ibiza that they feel has been lost. Most of the people that come to Ibiza are British, though there are also many Spanish and Italian visitors in the area as well.
The Reality of the Situation
Truthfully though, despite the number of tourists having gone up recently, tourism as a whole is decreasing on the island. Perhaps the group will come to regret the protests they are lodging if the number was to go down. The town gets a lot of money from incoming tourists, with people spending weeks on refreshments and accommodation in the town. Even so, Ibiza officials have been making moves to limit some of the tourism excess.
Taking Action at the Local Level
They have introduced a new law in which they have banned many accommodation applications such as AirBnb and Homeaway. This means these sites cannot put up listings of private houses or rooms around Ibiza Town. Instead, people who want to travel to Ibiza are forced to use hotels and any other property that is licensed with the island. There are many other areas on the island that have put in similar bans including San Jose, San Antonio, and Santa Eularia des Rius.
Officials also want to get rid of the constant noise around the city as well. Counselors in San Antonio, which is one of the hottest places to go clubbing on the island are instituting a ban on noise for many of their clubs. This zone of protection against noise means that clubs are going to have to bring the noise down around 3am, instead of at 5am, as they do now. This is a small victory in the town but can make a world of difference for many people in the areas, as people leaving the club can often be extremely noisy and disruptive to local people. Granted, people leaving the club at 3am and waking you up is not much better than at 5am, but these changes often take a lot of time and come up across tension from businesses in the area.
Focusing on Sustainable Development
More than just local complaints when it comes to noise and disruption, officials in Ibiza want to make sure they are looking at long-term solutions when it comes to the survival of their beloved island town. The island has seen a surge in development with the amount of people coming to spend vacations and the rise of different festivals around the year. While this has brought in profit, it also has many environmentalists concerned.
The Board of Tourism also wants to ensure that tourism is promoted in a way that is sustainable and protects the natural resources of the island. They want to promote development and tourism that is sustainable and comports with the needs of the 130,000-people living there around the year, not just those who pop in for a week. Part of what makes Ibiza so attractive is its beautiful scenery and overdeveloping and destroying resources does not help its longevity as a tourist destination or suitable place to live.
Tourism is very important to the island, and many people use it as their livelihood. While the citizens of Ibiza do not want to do away with tourism altogether, there is definitely a large push for reform by many citizens.