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
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
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
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
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!