The Ibiza clubs advanced the season and the party has no end: “It’s as if the covid had never happened”

After more than two years closed due to restrictions, the large clubs on the island moved up their openings by a month. And people have responded

Increase the rhythm of the hypnotic electronic music and the Pachá Ibiza dance floor is filled with raised arms. With no mandatory distance or limitations, customers dance in full swing under the multicolored lights of this mythical nightclub that the covid forced to close for two years.

But on this hot June night, the pandemic is just a distant memory.

The party at Pacha, one of the most famous clubs in Ibiza

“It’s as if covid never happened”says surprised Michelle, a 31-year-old English health worker, at the gates of this place where 3,500 people will enter.

After more than two years closed due to restrictions, the great clubs of Ibiza advanced a month, until the end of April, their openings to try to recover their accounts in the red. And people have responded.

“It is as if the covid had never happened”, say the tourists who returned to the nightclubs
“It is as if the covid had never happened”, say the tourists who returned to the nightclubs

“It has exceeded our expectations. We still cannot say for sure that they will be better figures than in 2019, but everything points to yes “explains Paloma Tur, head of communication at Grupo Pachá.

As in many places, almost all the 150 employees who work in this nightclub had to take advantage of partial unemployment plans during the pandemic.

After more than two years closed due to restrictions, the big clubs in Ibiza advanced their openings by a month, until the end of April, to try to recover their accounts in the red.  And people have responded.
After more than two years closed due to restrictions, the big clubs in Ibiza advanced their openings by a month, until the end of April, to try to recover their accounts in the red. And people have responded.

“For an island like Ibiza, where 84% of the GDP depends directly on tourism, and I would dare to say that 99% of the GDP directly and indirectly as well, [el covid] It was a real shock and a real catastrophe”, assures Juan Miguel Costa, director of Tourism Promotion of the Insular Council.

All sectors were affected, but the entertainment -which according to employers employs more than 3,000 workers– was the last to return.

With no mandatory distance or limitations, customers dance in full swing under the multicolored lights of Pacha, the mythical nightclub that the covid forced to close for two years.
With no mandatory distance or limitations, customers dance in full swing under the multicolored lights of Pacha, the mythical nightclub that the covid forced to close for two years.

“On April 30, when we finally entered the first customers and the first sale of drinks, it was a little more relief, but we are still affected, with many loans that we have to continue repaying”indicates Roberto de Lope, CEO of Ushuaïa Entertainment.

not everything is party

Property of one of the great fortunes of Ibiza, the footprint of this great group extends through the southeast of the island. While the super disco Hi Ibizawith capacity for 5,700 people, is preparing to open at midnight, just opposite, Ushuaïa is in full rush hour.

With the sunset falling over the Mediterranean, more than 7,000 customers dance around the pools of this huge club in the open air that last year could barely open for a few days, and in a reduced format.

Owned by one of Ibiza's great fortunes, the footprint of the Ushuaïa Entertainment group extends through the southeast of the island.
Owned by one of Ibiza’s great fortunes, the footprint of the Ushuaïa Entertainment group extends through the southeast of the island.

Faces reddened by the sun, glasses raised and cell phones photographing the special effects of the huge stage: You have to take advantage of the entry of around 70 euros (73 dollars), 90 at the box office, which they have paid to be in this session that will close the star DJ Calvin Harris.

The drinks, not included, are around 20 euros.

More than 7,000 customers dance around the Ushuaia pools, a huge club that was only able to open for a few days last year, and in a reduced format.
More than 7,000 customers dance around the Ushuaia pools, a huge club that was only able to open for a few days last year, and in a reduced format.
The entrance costs around 70 euros (73 dollars), 90 at the box office, which tourists have paid to be in this session that will close the star DJ Calvin Harris.
The entrance costs around 70 euros (73 dollars), 90 at the box office, which tourists have paid to be in this session that will close the star DJ Calvin Harris.

But, despite the high purchasing power that drags, many defend that Ibiza does not need this type of leisure. The figures, they say, prove them right: after the collapse of visitors in the worst of the pandemic, in 2021 Ibiza and neighboring Formentera received 1.9 million touristsslightly more than half than in 2019, despite the restrictions that kept the clubs closed.

“We want Ibizan society to realize that we don’t just live off the party. On the contrary, the party lives on us”says Jaume Ribas, spokesman for the Prou ​​collective [“Basta”, en catalán]referring to the “excellent” 2021 recorded by both restaurant service and commerce.

In 2021 Ibiza and neighboring Formentera received 1.9 million tourists, slightly more than half than in 2019, despite the restrictions that kept the clubs closed.
In 2021 Ibiza and neighboring Formentera received 1.9 million tourists, slightly more than half than in 2019, despite the restrictions that kept the clubs closed.

From this citizen platform they have spent years fighting against the effects of tourism that they consider unsustainable for this small island where 152,000 people live, but it can reach peaks of up to 450,000 simultaneously.

With skyrocketing prices for tourist housing -legal and illegal-, for many workers it is impossible to pay rent and, although it is still June, the first traffic jams are already beginning to register.

On the island, many argue that Ibiza does not need this type of leisure.  Aware of the physical limitations of the island, the island government claims to work to achieve a balance between tourism and sustainability.
On the island, many argue that Ibiza does not need this type of leisure. Aware of the physical limitations of the island, the island government claims to work to achieve a balance between tourism and sustainability.

“The problems have accelerated this year. Everyone wants to work, even the bad guys”, launches Ribas, about the usual increase in accidents or crime linked to drugs.

The Civil Guard deployed a reinforced device, which includes various agents intended to prevent sexual crimes.

“Free”

Aware of the physical limitations of the island, the island government claims to work to achieve a balance between tourism and sustainability.

The drinks, not included, are around 20 euros.
The drinks, not included, are around 20 euros.

“Ibiza’s tourism model is evolving”, defends Costa. “We are a world-renowned brand thanks to electronic music and entertainment, but before the season started when the clubs opened, and ended when they closed, and today it doesn’t happen like that,” he says.

The association between Ibiza and party remains, however, very strong. And more when the world begins to come out of almost two years of confinement.

Dressed in white and with a crown that says “Bride” [“novia”, en inglés], Sara Borrego, a 32-year-old maritime operator, does not stop dancing among the Ushuaïa crowd. She has a lot to celebrate. After postponing her wedding due to the pandemic, she is getting married this summer and her friends have brought her from Cádiz (south) to celebrate.

“There are no longer any restrictions, you don’t have to wear a mask, we feel free”He assures with a huge smile.

(Photos: LLUIS GENÉ/AFP; Video: ANAHÍ ARADAS/AFP)

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