Ibiza’s latest nightlife crackdown illustrates daunting realities about the Balearic utopia.
After having recently announced the island would be closing its bars and clubs significantly earlier, the White Isle will now also be banning Airbnb and other tourist rental platforms beginning as early as this summer — as originally reported by the Spain outlet El Confidencial.
The ban comes forth as an effort to combat the exorbitant rental climb its seen over the course of the summers. The City Council and government of Ibiza hold the belief that this ban, an investment in the island’s hotels, and ultimate prioritizing of its locals’ and dance music industry workers’ housing accommodations over tourists will work to counteract its presently unsustainable rental market.
As the number of passengers traveling to the island has jumped to record highs in just the last half year alone, originally reported in September by the Ibiza Airport, the island’s contrasting, plummeting hotel occupancy points directly to just how much alternative rental services like Airbnb have cornered market control. With more than half a billion euros that could be put back into the district’s economy through a more localized rental market approach, it was only a matter of time until the government intervened and worked to limit its landlords’ astronomical profits from tourists.
With the looming uncertainty of rental services, the hotels in the nightlife district will become travelers single option. But, with this market shift, Ibiza’s poised to become increasingly difficult to travel to as a result; fewer traveler options also means significant price increases.
The White Isle will continue to situate itself as an elite getaway. Considering that Ibiza is already the eighth most expensive destination in the world and visitors need an average of $283 a day just to stay there, the future of Ibiza’s nightlife is at a head. Now, the island seems to have chosen to cater more directly towards the financially-sound and VIP-culture than ever before.
Ibiza’s cornering of the elite market is nothing new though. Spain’s Balearic islands introduced its “tourist tax” in 2015. A year earlier, a New York Times article claimed the island was being reinvented by “high rollers and mega-rich moguls.” VIP environments began rapidly evolving at the island’s hottest clubs in the mid-2010’s and another idea of “what Ibiza could be” began reemerging every few years around the same time.
Today, it’s the White Isle’s continually alienating, VIP-cultivation that’s calling into question just how much travelers can look to the island as a viable getaway. Though they may also want to consider exactly what the other unorthodox destinations and affordable alternatives really are.
Previously Ibiza-interested purveyors can head east and they’ll hit Croatia, which has continually been building its reputation with a bevy of festivals on the picturesque island of Pag. The other side of the Mediterranean offers Greek party islands. Both Morocco and Costa Rica have bustling dance music scenes that are equally sustained by the spirit of their surroundings.
Ko Phangan, the island in the Gulf of Thailand, is increasingly appealing, and the Brazilian island of Florianópolis in Brazil’s Santa Catarina state is considered by some to be Brazil’s answer to Ibiza. Even the US’ Las Vegas can be prepositioned for a weekend getaway that’s suitable as a White Isle replacement, especially considering its doubling down on tech house and open-minded genre extension of residencies from acts like the South African house auteur Black Coffee.
As the uncertainty of Ibiza’s very longevity is being called into question and the possibility of a narrow future of viable traveling options for all arises, attacks on the islands’ ethos are still met with repulsion by the island’s most loyal of supporters. When DJ Clara da Costa was asked in a BBC documentary in the mid-2010’s about the island’s remaining magic she said, “Ibiza will never lose its magic, it is an island full of beauty, love, energy, and creativity which is continuously evolving.”
Though in journalist Matthew Collin’s recently released book about the globalization of dance music, he remarks: “In places rendered increasingly unrecognizable by gentrification, there comes a point when it’s time for the free-thinkers to move on.”
It’s difficult to predict when or where exactly dance destination revelers will move on to from the magic and mayhem that is the Baeleric nest, but Space’s longtime boss Pepe Rosellø seems to have said it best at Carl Cox‘s closing set when he said, “Your emotions and love will remain here forever.”