Council of Ibiza passes measure to limit free entertainment

Glistening white sand, palm trees rustling in the Mediterranean breeze, the azure waters lapping on the shores, Ibiza is as iconic for its status as the world’s clubbing destination as it is for its breathtaking nature; now the Consell de Ibiza, the government body by which the Island is run, has passed a measure that will limit the exercise of free entertainment.

In the amendment to the Tourist Law of 2012, the councils of the Islas Baleares—Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera—are given astonishingly broad powers to “regulate, condition, or prohibit” any entertainment that is provided for free at all venues, be they discotheques, beach clubs, or dance halls.

The impetus is a mixture of the capitalist profit motive of tourist dollars (free events do not generate revenue for an Island that depends on tourism) and the local government’s socialist system of state regulation. Regulation powers even extend to individual municipalities themselves, such as Sant Antoni de Portmany, to add even more restrictions.

Vincent Torres, Director of Tourism cited “activities incompatible with the daily [life] of an Island dependent upon sustainable tourism” as well as the ruling socialist party’s rhetoric of a popular outcry.

Contrary to reporting elsewhere, the Spanish language original makes reference to the amendment being applicable to all complimentary offers at all venues, not just open air ones. Neither is the law retroactive: only new requests for complimentary entertainment apply to the regulation.

Also included in the amendment was what appears to be a restriction on owner-owned rental services such as AirBnB. The legislation now applies to a restriction on tourist rentals in multi-family units.

This amendment comes after a recent new initiative seeking to limit alcohol sales on flights bound for the White Isle, perhaps as a means to increase revenue from drink sales on the Island itself and to prevent drunk passengers from arriving in an unruly state to a locale that is as much residential as it is for entertainment.