No long term rentals, no chance of a mortgage, no space on the beach, nowhere to park, no taxis, no doctors, no teachers, no police, no welcome for tourists, no noise, and no idea where it will all end.
It has been a very peculiar period for an island seen by many looking in from the outside as the epitome of the living-the-dream aspirational lifestyle.
With such wide ranging issues affecting Ibiza’s stress levels if not survival, it may seem difficult to understand how this has all come upon us.
Numbers that should explain some aspects of how we arrived here can be very misleading. Though tourism statistics are important indicators, with such a huge proportion of visitors staying in unlicensed accommodation, they cannot give us the full picture.
With the unlicensed holiday rental properties effectively disappearing from the radar, the full extent of the effect is difficult to assess, and these invisible factors have knock on effects to many other areas—traffic on the roads, demands on public services etc.
Human Pressure Indicator
We went hunting in the Balearic Statistics Institute’s vast catalogue of collected data, and found what may be the best practical demonstration of the extent of our problem.
The human pressure indicator is literally a bums on seats count of everybody on the Islands at any given time. It takes into account the resident population, and all of the comings and goings by air and sea.
It therefore includes everybody—residents, tourists in both legal and illegal accommodation, workers, and every other category of business and social visitor.
The results are astonishing and really hit home why the island is struggling to cope.
The 1997 Mid-August Peak of 235,000 was Reached by May 6th in 2016
The figures are counted down to the day and show that in 1997 the maximum number of people in Ibiza and Formentera was 235,000 on 11th August.
In 2016 we had surpassed that number by the 6th of May, the start of the season.
Peak Up 60% From 1997 to 2016
The peak August number of people on the island has increased by 60% from 1997, up to 374,151 in 2016.
But all of those who have known Ibiza over this time period will know the island does not have 60% more roads, nor 60% more property, be it tourist or residential.
When you take these numbers in, perhaps the most surprising thing is that the Island has coped as long as it has.
Definitive explanation? Well we admit that is quite a bold claim, but it is as good an answer as we’ve seen. An already thriving and busy tourist destination absorbing a 60% increase in the number of people it is accommodating with nothing like an equitable increase in services and infrastructure is bound to cause problems – but with numbers still increasing all be it at a slower rate, the question remaining is whether we have a breaking point, and how close are we to it?
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