Sant Antoni, Ibiza | R.I.


Think Ibiza, and what do you think? There are those for whom there is just the one thought. It was a fair old time ago now (thirty years ago perhaps), but I once asked a female friend why she had returned to England from holiday in Ibiza without much of a tan. Raving, came the reply. Alive at night, asleep during the day. It was a dumb question to have asked. Ibiza, ah yes, Ibiza.

The Balearic government’s tourism decree hasn’t gone down that well at the Council of Ibiza, where the president is Vicent Marí of the Partido Popular. No man is an island, they say (John Donne did anyway), but Marí is an exception - the only island president who isn’t from PSOE and who isn’t a woman. He says that he got a phone call five minutes before the decree was approved by the government, telling him that it was going to be approved. “Imposition. Shameful. They could have called and consulted over it.”

They didn’t, or apparently not, and so he is particularly annoyed about the moratorium on new accommodation places, 485 of which were in fact applied for on the day of the approval. A short window of opportunity opened before being slammed shut by publication in the Official Bulletin. Government spokesperson Iago Negueruela says that, because of procedures, application isn’t the same as being granted. Marí may yet end up being even more annoyed.

While the Council president didn’t take too kindly to the decree, a party which forms part of the Balearic government did. Podemos in Ibiza welcomed a law “to redirect this important sector (tourism) towards a model that is sustainable over time and is respectful of the territory”. However, Podemos on the island hope that the text of the decree can be “deepened and improved” during its parliamentary process. How?

Amnesia is one of Ibiza’s iconic clubs, and one thing that Amnesia has going for it, other than being an iconic club, is its location - some way from the city of Ibiza and certainly not on the beach. Podemos won’t be gunning for it, therefore.

Fernando Gómez is the Podemos spokesperson in Ibiza. A proposal he has made has led, so it has been reported, to “a mixture of disbelief and stupor” among the specialist music media. The Gómez and Podemos desire to deepen the decree centres on beach clubs and hotels with clubs.

Podemos want much tighter regulation and the decree to include this regulation. They say that there is a “legal limbo” regarding these clubs. Poorly regulated activity is having a negative impact on residents and is driving away family tourism. The limbo and the lack of regulation amount to one thing - noise.

Gómez is clear that he is making a distinction between “proper clubs” that are fully soundproofed and have to be by law and what he describes as open-air discos. He and Podemos have beach clubs in Platja d’en Bossa in their sights in particular.

Gómez attributes the issues surrounding the hotel and beach clubs to provisions of the 2012 tourism law, one that was introduced by the Partido Popular. These facilitated so-called secondary activities and ones to which the general public could gain access. While it was true that the law did open the way up to these activities, they weren’t unheard of prior to the law. Ibiza Rocks in Sant Antoni and indeed Mallorca Rocks in Magalluf predated the law, so also did Ushuaïa in Platja d’en Bossa.

Even so, Podemos argue that the 2012 law permitted these secondary activities without the corresponding licence. The law “ended up creating a legal limbo, which de facto allowed these establishments to be converted into nightclubs with music at full volume and without the obligation to be soundproofed” - unlike the “proper” clubs. When it comes to the Platja d’en Bossa clubs, these, says Gómez, “produce music at ungodly hours”. “Their sound can be heard kilometres away and by, unfortunately, the thousands of people who live there.”

So, while the PP in Ibiza believe that the tourism decree goes too far, Podemos in Ibiza feel that it doesn’t go far enough. They are therefore asking Podemos deputies in the Balearic parliament, who include the government vice-president Juan Pedro Yllanes, to force an amendment that will strictly limit and regulate activities in order to stamp out the noise and impact on residents and other tourists.

Ibiza, party island, the destination for ravers for more than thirty years. Open-air clubs - what’s there not to like? Well, quite a bit, if you’re affected by the noise, which has long created an issue of coexistence and not only in Ibiza. If Podemos are successful in amending the decree, what might limits and regulations mean for Mallorca? They surely wouldn’t only apply to one island.