ARTBAT, Ushuaïa Ibiza Opening 2022

Ibiza looks towards 2021 season and return to normality

Last year was a difficult year for Ibiza, with the Covid-19 pandemic seeing the summer season basically cancelled in terms of clubs being open. While some people were able to make the trip to the White Isle in 2020, it was more peaceful days at the beach, walking the island’s spectacular landscape, and enjoying the local bars and restaurants that were open. While there’s nothing wrong with seeing the “real” side of Ibiza, the great and the good from the world of dance music are now looking to 2021, in the hope that the circus can decamp to the island once again for a summer of club nights and events encompassing the entire spectrum of dance music. So how is it shaping up so far?

Firstly, we’re still in February, and even in normal years there’s generally little info about line-ups at this time of year. Yet in these trying times, the question still remains whether Ibiza will be able to reopen fully at all. There is some good news on the table though for an appetiser – the Spanish foreign minister Arancha González Laya, mentioned in a presentation at the end of January that they’re planning to allow tourists into the country “as soon as possible”, while Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has gone even further, saying that he plans to get the Spanish people vaccinated as quickly as they can, allowing the nation to progressively open up tourism and allow Spain to be “the beacon of the resurrection of tourism in all the world.” Quite the statement to say the least.

This is all good news, but so far gives little indication on what this means for Ibiza, after all, the island was open for tourism last year even if the clubs weren’t. Meanwhile, the island is suffering hard due to the pandemic, with the Govern Balear extending lockdown restrictions on the Balearic islands for an extra two weeks until March 1, with infections on Ibiza standing at 2000 cases per 100k residents, a relatively high figure that has seen 44 people die since the start of the pandemic, last week these figures included a 30 year old man. It does seem cases have peaked however, and unlike last year, the main difference for summer 2021 is the fact that we have vaccines now. The EU has infamously been slow at rolling out vaccines to member states, with Spain standing at just 5.95 doses per 100 residents, slightly above the EU average of 5.4, though supply is expected to substantially increase in the coming weeks. It’s still a far cry behind the likes of the UK however, who currently stand at nearly a third of adults vaccinated, with a first dose currently expected to be offered to all adults by sometime in May. Good news however, comes from world-leaders in the roll-out, Israel, who have now vaccinated an astonishing 81% of their population, with clear “real world” data showing that this is already having a positive effect on ending the pandemic, something the rest of the world can look forward too as their roll-out reaches similar heights.

The Spanish tourism industry also recognises the large number of people who visit Spain from the UK, with Ana Gordillo, chair of the Hoteliers Association of Ibiza and Formentera, stating that “the UK is our main market and it is good news that the UK’s vaccination rates are so good. They will be the first to come back to the island”. However, Spain, along with Greece, were the first two countries to propose “vaccination passports” for anyone entering the country, and it seems that the EU are keen on the idea, with plans afoot to roll out such a scheme across the entire bloc. While the UK government have dismissed such an idea for UK residents, repeatedly stating that vaccines are not compulsory and never will be, it has been made clear that other nations are free to impose such requirements if they wish, as many have for decades already, for a variety of diseases.

Much like in most countries around the world, it seems the current situation in Spain is rather simple – cases are high, but falling, with vaccination roll-out the key to ending the pandemic stage of Covid-19 all together, with most developed nations making progress on this one way or another. Data, rather than arbitrary dates, is the key marker for reopening society, so for now we’ll just have to wait and see how fast the decline is, how quickly the majority can be vaccinated, and what that means for the return to normality.

Image Credit: Ushuaïa Ibiza (Press) / Provided by NEU Communications