Homes & Gardens
Adventure & Sports
18 - 30s To The Rescue!
In amongst all the negative news during the week there appeared some ray of hope as the Co-operative Travel Group announced bookings to the island amongst the young were up on last year. It is a shift which is being seen right across the country, with Spain once again proving a popular choice to those holidaymakers under the age of thirty.
While bookings for Spain in general fell 23.7 per cent, it appears the youth market has bucked this downward trend. In particular package holidays for Ibiza rose from seven per cent to eleven per cent amongst the under-30s market, with all of the major tour operators reporting similar increases for youth travel.
However, whilst the news was encouraging for Ibiza, it was even better for Mallorca. In a comparison of the UK’s top ten destinations, the largest Balearic island saw its share of bookings rise by five per cent in the under-21 age group, (from 17 per cent to 22 per cent) and three per cent for those aged between 21 and 30, (from 17 per cent to 20 per cent).
However, it was not all good news, with the same report showing reservations were down throughout Spain with older holidaymakers.
Trevor Davis, Director of Retail Distribution at The Co-operative Travel said: “The decline in bookings to Spain has been a growing trend over the last two years, with Egypt and Turkey the main beneficiaries. The Spanish Tourist Office has responded by attempting to increase its appeal to younger bookers, showing them that there’s more to Spain than sun and sangria. According to our research this approach seems to be working, and is good news for the long term prospects of the Spanish travel market.”
The news comes as a boost to the much maligned tourist department on the island, headed by Pepa Mari, just two weeks before a huge Balearic promotional drive in the UK begins with a three day promotion in the centre of Manchester. This will coincide with ads featuring the world number one tennis star, Rafael Nadal, hitting television screens across the British Isles. Additionally this will be followed with a more general Spanish promotion organised by the Spanish Tourist Office called a ‘Taste of Spain’, and includes events in London from 21st May and Edinburgh from 17th July. These mini-fiestas will aim to showcase authentic Spanish life, culture and food.
The full list of the most popular destinations for summer 2009 for The Co-operative Travel is -
1. Mallorca – 24.2%
2. Dalaman (Turkey) – 15.8%
3. Crete (Greece) – 10.1%
4. Orlando (US) – 8.9%
5. Costa Blanca – 7.3%
6. Ibiza – 7.27%
7. Tenerife – 7.22%
8. Larnaca (Cyprus) – 6.4%
9. Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt) – 6.34%
10. Zante (Greece) – 6.3%
Meanwhile, Thomas Cook’s annual Holiday Cost of Living 2009 survey showed Blighty was still far more expensive than most other popular holiday destinations. Although the island was not mentioned, the authors claimed a break to Mallorca was a lot cheaper than holidaying back home, and all this despite the strong euro.
The survey provided prices of daily holiday essentials in 16 popular tourist destinations worldwide. Not surprisingly the best value destinations were long and mid-haul non-Euro destinations, with Goa top of the list of the cheapest destinations. The report showed a cup of tea in the Indian holiday resort was more than ten times cheaper than in the UK. The favourable exchange rates of North African destinations such as Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco also made them great value destinations, as was the Eastern Med favourite, Turkey.
The full list saw Goa come top followed by Cuba, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt, Bulgaria, mainland Spain, Morocco, Mallorca and Cyprus.
AROUND THE ISLAND
The hospital waiting list at Can Misses has been reduced by 18 per cent over the last year, according to data released by the Minister for Health, Vicenc Thomas. At the end of March there were 916 people waiting for an operation, none of whom had so far had to wait more than six months. A year ago the number waiting was 1,117, a reduction which, according to Thomas, has been the result of a huge operation by management and staff to reduce waiting times.
Of those currently on the list eight out of ten have been waiting for an operation for less than three months, whilst all of the rest had waited no longer than six months. This left average waiting time at 54.7 days, 15.5 days less than twelve months ago. However, this is still two days more than the Balearic average.
The situation is slightly different in Formentera where there are currently 15 people waiting for an operation, ten more than last year, although none of these had so far been waiting more than three months.
Plans to limit the traffic to ses Salinas have been put on hold after the Island Councillor for Transport, Albert Prats, claimed the project to revamp the area would take considerably more time. At the moment initial plans have been produced which involve the rebuilding of the ses Salinas road including a bicycle lane, the burying of overhead cables in the area and the building of a large car park at the entrance to the park.
Limited access to the natural park is one of the key aims of the plan with customers wishing to access the beach having to leave their vehicle in the car park and hop on the new bus service which will be in operation. However, it seems the plans will have to wait after Prats admitted the cost of the entire project had surprised everyone involved, and that deals would now have to be made to secure the finance. He hoped work could begin in 2010, but would know more towards the end of the year.
It seems the Ryanair flights the Island Council fought so hard to bring to Ibiza are beginning to have the desired affect. Whilst the key Spanish market fell during the first two months of the year, new data released by the Institute of National Statistics, (INE), and supported by figures from the Island Council, showed the number of British visitors during January and February rose a spectacular 531 per cent. Last year just 789 tourists visited from the British Isles, whilst in 2009 the figure soared to 4,980, helped by the thrice-weekly flights from Stansted provided by the low-cost Irish airline.
However, it was not all good news as the number of Spanish tourists declined by 41 per cent (down from 32,209 to 19,024), worrying by the fact the Spanish market is by far the biggest sector during the winter months.
Despite this spectacular fall, the overall reduction was a slightly more respectable 17.6 per cent, with 58,151 passing though the airport compared to 70,534 last year. The figure was helped by the improvement of most of the key foreign markets with both the German (up 25.1 per cent) and French (up 304 per cent) sectors up from 2008.
The news was no better from the ports of Ibiza and San Antonio with visitor numbers down 24.2 per cent from last year, a loss of more than 6,000 passengers.
Meanwhile, the president of the Hotel Federation, Juanjo Riera, demanded more effort be made to try and recover the German market during the summer months. Speaking at a press conference he revealed Ibiza had received 411,000 German visitors in 2000, whereas last year 260,000 came, around 150,000 less. Mallorca on the other hand has increased its share of the market during the same period, receiving 3.5 million last year.
Last week the Island Council announced a programme it hopes will help in the fight against mosquitoes. The plan involves introducing carp to the island’s stagnant water supply, the theory being the fish will eat the mosquitoes during their growth process, (egg, lava and pupa stage).
The idea is not a new one as both carp and certain species of goldfish have been used for many years in the control of the mosquito. However, their introduction is not without its own consequences to local ecosystems, which suffer from the frenzied feeding patterns of this species. They uproot aquatic plants and sift through sediment during feeding, which increases water turbidity. This means less light can penetrate, which stunts surrounding plant growth. Let’s wait and see if the antidote is worse than the ailment!
A study carried out on behalf of the Island Council has highlighted the general state of degradation within Playa den Bossa. As plans to renovate the area progress, the independent company, Intelligent Coast, was asked to carry out a study into the facilities and situation currently in the zone. The study criticised the deterioration on the streets parallel to the coast, claiming most of the buildings were of low quality and in disrepair. It continued that the distribution of bins and green areas was non-existent, in addition to the fact there was little space reserved for pedestrians. It claimed the pavements were extremely narrow in some places, and that advertising hoardings had grown without any control, and regularly invaded public areas.
Concerning the beach, the consultants observed the presence of buildings, a considerable number of which were in poor condition, which encroached onto the waterfront and broke the coastlines natural continuity. The report also bemoaned the lack of co-ordination across the different beaches.
The report continued by analysing the most popular areas for swimming along the coast. Not surprisingly the busiest area remained the stretch of water in front of the after-hours bar, Bora Bora, which was the only area which reached more than 1,000 swimmers in an hour. It claimed the entertainment on offer in the area, as well as the easy access available to the beach, ensured it remained the most popular area for bathers.
At the opposite end of the scale was the coastal region close to the hotel, Torre del Mar, which did not reach 20 bathers in an hour, during its busiest time. The water in the area is hampered by rocks found in the area, which make access to the sea difficult. In addition there are no beach restaurants despite the fact there are a total of 2,431 hotel beds in the area. Similarly, the area labelled Fiestaworld was the most run down, with no hotels in the area, and very little access.
In addition the report was critical of the dual-carriageway recently built in the area, claiming it acted as a barrier in cutting off Playa den Bossa from other areas close by.
The report comes just six months after the Island Council announced a major re-modelling to the Playa den Bossa area. Subsequently a meeting was held with the authorities and leading business figures, in which the Island Council first revealed it would be carrying out the report into the current problems within the area, to try and avoid repeating the same mistakes.
The study also revealed some interesting statistics about the beach users in Playa den Bossa. An average of just six per cent of those using the beach throughout the summer are residents, with the majority of those using the area being foreigners, with the British the most popular visitors. Of those questioned, 46 per cent came to the island looking for sun and sea, whilst 32 per cent came because of the clubs on offer. A surprisingly high 60 per cent came via the package holiday, with the average cost €548, and half-board was the most popular choice. However, this did not stop them spending money during the evening with the average forking out €69 every night.
On Monday the Town Hall of Ibiza announced work would begin on upgrading a total of 18 streets across the capital. The improvements, which will cost in the region of €2.3 million and take around four months, is part of the Central Government’s Local Investment project to try and get more people back to work, and will see a total of 70 people employed. The work will involve repairing pavements, eliminating barriers and renovation of infrastructure in various areas across the municipal including es Viver, can Bellet, sa Real and la Marina. In addition the company in charge of the project, Agloisa, also promised to asphalt a total of 35,000 m2 of roads.
A report produced on behalf of the Balearic Port Authority has admitted the underground tunnel at s´Illa Plana could be unavoidable if traffic was to increase as predicted. Although the new port at es Botafoc has now been agreed, all of the administrations responsible, including the Port Authority, Balearic Government and Island Council, promised an underground tunnel linking the port to avenida Vuit d´Agost would not be built, and that the current system would be able to handle the increased traffic to the area.
However, the report has put these claims in doubt, adding that when the port began to work at 50 per cent the road leading down to es Botafoc would struggle to cope with the increase in traffic.
The 22-page report produced by Api XXI showed that if all four docking stations were used to their maximum capacity the road would have to cope with around 2,400 vehicles per hour, way above its maximum limit of 1,170. Although these levels are never likely to be reached, it seems clear the road system is going to struggle to cope once the new port is in operation.
The project predicts 898 vehicles per hour will use the access road when the port first opens, rising to 978 by 2020. Whilst this will ensure no changes have to be made, the report continues that such traffic would cause some congestion, but at acceptable levels.
Although nothing has yet been confirmed the Island Council is planning to widen the access road by at least one metre, hoping this will be enough.
The mayor of Ibiza Town, Lurdes Costa, announced on Thursday that the Town Hall would be trying to solve the parking problem which exists in the town centre by strategically placing three traffic lights along the inner ring-road. The plan is that with the traffic lights in place people will feel more secure about crossing the busy road, having used the new car parks which will provide 2,200 more spaces.
In fact two of the car parks are already in use, although Costa hopes the new safe crossings will ensure they become more popular. The first is the industrial estate of es Gorg, at the very start of the ring-road, close to the Santa Eulalia road. Although this car park was created several years ago, the difficulty of accessing the promenade ensured it has never been the first choice of the driving public.
The second car park is located next to the cinema complex at the opposite end of the ring-road. This huge area has space for around 1,000 vehicles but has proved unpopular due to the problem of crossing over the dangerous inner ring-road.
The third option, which is currently being renovated, is a piece of land next to the exhibition centre (recinto ferial). In the very near future the land will be used to house the island’s new library but until building work starts, the Town Hall is keen to use the area for parking.
In addition to these, a car park has also been constructed under the new bus terminal in Bulevard Abel Matutes which is to be completed in the next few months, although this will be a pay car park.
The disgraced former municipal architect, Antonio Huerta Briz, appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday to answer some preliminary questions from the judge who will be hearing the case. Huerta was arrested back in October, along with his son and daughter-in-law, all accused of using his position as the chief architect within the Town Hall of San Jose to control building projects and boost their private practice based in the marina of Botafoc, a control which saw them earn around €15 million over several years. He also stands accused of a breach of trust, money laundering and falsifying documents, and has already spent five months in prison. He was temporarily released last month, after paying €100,000 bail.
During the one and a half hour hearing the judge asked a series of questions concerning new documentation seized by fraud squad officers at his offices. However, the hearing was just to clear up a few matters, with the investigating team confirming it would take several more months to trawl through all of the evidence collected, including hard drives from both the architect’s offices and the Town Hall.
The judge did confirm Huerta would not be returning to prison, in the meantime, at least. He claimed the risk of the defendant fleeing the country was minimal, and that it was now too late for him to interfere with the investigation process.
The Town Hall of San Jose announced work would begin on burying overhead cables in Cala de Bou once the summer had finished. Mayor Josep Mari Ribas Agustinet was quick to point out that work will not involve the roads being dug up for a fifth straight winter, as all of the tubing has already been laid, ensuring only the cables now have to be passed. However, a few huts will also have to be built which resulted in the decision to wait until winter before starting work.
The burying of the cables was part of the “Plan of Excellence” which has transformed Cala de Bou. However, the €245,000 need to carry out the work was never made available until now.
A court in Palma has ruled a house in Cala Conta, part of which was built on coastal land, will have to be demolished. However, the owner will not be fined, and if he carries out the work, the case will be closed. The public prosecution team had originally demanded the Italian owner of the house be fined for the staircase, terrace, and launch-pad at the foot of his house on the cliffs overlooking Cala Conta. The installations had originally been built by the former owner in 1980, with the relevant permission from the Town Hall of San Jose. However, the concession granted only lasted 15 years and was not transferable, and so when the house was eventually sold to the current owner the constructions became illegal. Additionally the new owner failed to ask for an extension to the concession, which has now expired, and will ensure they are to be demolished.
The huge mansion has housed many famous faces over the years, including that of Elle McPherson over various summers.
The police department of Santa Eulalia took part in a total of 936 operations during 2008, 25.5 per cent up from the previous year. Once again, the majority of the cases requiring police attention involved traffic accidents (497 cases), domestic violence (33 cases), and thefts (31 cases) next on the list. Of all the cases attended, 46.9 per cent ended with an official report being made, most of which were needed by the motorists involved in accidents for insurance purposes.
The mayor of Santa Eulalia, Vicent Mari, promised he would look into alternatives to the bicycle lane along the San Miguel road, which is currently causing controversy amongst those affected. The lane is projected to be two-way, something which could be changed. Mari confirmed his administration would be studying the alternatives, one of which would be to combine the pavement and cycle-lane to try and reduce the overall width of the road, and ensure less private land would have to be expropriated.
On Thursday the mayor of San Juan, Antoni Mari Carraca, announced a campaign to clean up the municipal before the start of the season. The statement came after the signing of an agreement with the firm, Ca na Negreta, the aim of which is to remove disused cars and collect scrap dumped in illegal tips which have formed over the winter months. There will also be an opportunity for residents to get rid of scrap in their homes free of charge, or at extremely reduced rates if dealing with material of a dangerous nature. Anyone interested in using the service only needs to call the company on 971.311313, or contact the local Town Hall on 971.333003.
Carraca used the opportunity to warn residents that the illegal dumping of waste and rubbish was a serious offence and could result in heavy fines.
At the same time he confirmed his administration was looking at new locations for additional recycling bins which would be installed during 2010, all part of the plan to make San Juan a greener municipal.
CRIME & INCIDENTS
The 65-year-old man severely injured after falling from his motorbike in the centre of Santa Eulalia on 4th April has died in hospital. Although the exact details of the incident are still unclear, it appears the motorist fell from his Harley Davidson after crashing into a pedestrian who was crossing the road. As a result he lost control of the bike and fell to the road, hitting his head on the curb. He was immediately rushed to the private hospital, la Policlinica Nuestra Señora del Rosario, but remained in a coma ever since.
He becomes the second fatality on the island’s roads this year, after the death of a Romanian motorist in March, who veered off the Santa Eulalia-es Canar road.
A masked man carrying a gun raided the Forn Can Bufi bakery in Santa Gertrudis, on Friday evening. The man entered the establishment, which is located next to the A Prop supermarket at around 9:00 p.m. There were five customers in the shop at the time. He grabbed one of them, and demanded the cashier handover all of the money in the cash-register, which she did. He then left the shop and made his escape in a car which had been waiting for him outside, and was driven by a second man. Although investigating officers maintained the man got away with just €30, the supermarket claimed he had taken much more, although they were unsure of the exact amount.
However, it is unlikely he stole a considerable amount as the shop assistant confirmed the thief was visibly angry when he realised just how little he had taken. This led police to believe he had entered the bakery by mistake, when he had in fact planned to rob the supermarket next door.
Monday saw a fire destroy the storeroom of the popular Casa Colonial restaurant close to Santa Eulalia. Neighbours called the fire brigade after seeing smoke and flames at around 8:30 a.m. A total of eight fire crew soon arrived at the scene aboard four vehicles. The two buildings, which were separate from the main restaurant, were completely destroyed in the fire, the cause of which is still not known.
It emerged last week that the former pianist of the pop group, Lighthouse Family, is being investigated by Spanish authorities over allegations of child pornography. Although no information was released at the time, a report in the Spanish magazine, Interviu, claimed police raided the musicians San Jose mansion towards the end of March. Although no images were found, he was questioned by police.
The raids on Paul Tucker’s home took place after a massive investigation by British police who used credit card information to track down around 500 people who had allegedly bought child pornography from the internet.
According to the report the 40-year-old, who has been living on the island for the past three years, denied downloading such material.
A source close to Tucker claimed the songwriter was distraught and insisted it had all been a terrible mistake.
Lighthouse Family's 1995 album, Ocean Drive, sold 1.6 million copies in the UK and the duo went on to have considerable success in the late 1990s, although the band went their separate ways in 2003.
By modern day standards Ibiza is an extremely safe place to be. This is a weeks’ worth of news, thus magnifying its effect. Please do not worry whilst you are here – you are quite safe!!
If you have any stories for our incidents section then call or fax 971-348-271 or e-mail on: firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWS FROM THE MAINLAND
Another blow was struck at the heart of the terrorist group ETA over the weekend as the man described as the military leader of the group was captured in south-western France. Jurdan Martitegi was detained near Perpignan in a joint Franco-Spanish security operation, along with two other suspected members of the group. The arrests were part of a widescale operation which also saw six suspected Eta members detained in Bilbao and other cities.
All of the men arrested on Saturday were armed, and were driving a car with false number plates.
Mr Martitegi is alleged to have taken over the reigns of the group following the December arrest of Aitzol Irionda, also in south-west France.
Up to our Necks
A recent study by the Bank of Spain showed the Balearics was the region most in debt, in the country, with 58 per cent more debt than savings. The report showed residents had a total of €19,148 million worth of savings, compared to €46,183 million in debts. This left the region way above the national average of 33.8 per cent, with a total of €1.21 billion in savings compared to €1.84 billion in debts. However, there was some good news, with the Bank of Spain reporting levels had come down, close to three per cent, in the last trimester of the year.
Additionally, whilst debts with the banks are at their highest levels on record, it seems the recent economic crisis has seen a significant increase in the number of people not paying their municipal taxes in both Ibiza Town and Santa Eulalia. Whilst details were still not available for the other municipals, it seems defaulters are on the increase across the island. After the voluntary payment period in Ibiza Town which ended in October, the Town Hall was owed a total of €1,612,648, compared to €741,838 in 2007, an increase of 117 per cent.
It was a similar case in Santa Eulalia, with bad debts up 52 per cent, leaving a total of €1,850,000 owing. Despite the increase municipal sources at both Town Halls confirmed the majority of residents had paid their local taxes on time, with the business sector the main culprit for the rise in default payments.
The negative news continued throughout the week with the main worker’s union on the island, CCOO, calling on the Balearic Government to help out more, claiming this October would be a “black” month with people unable to claim benefit after not being given a six month contract during the summer. They maintained last year’s record unemployment figures at the end of the tourist season would pale into insignificance compared to the levels which would be hit this winter.
LEISURE & SPORT
An Italian construction company is preparing to buy Eivissa football club for €1 million. The company, Mezzaroma, has made the offer and hope the deal can be signed during the first two weeks of the year, or they will withdraw the offer. However, the representative of the company, Patrizio Rossi, who brokered the deal, said everything had been agreed and that both parties were happy. The total includes the liquidation of the club’s debts reckoned to be in the region of €400,000.
Eivissa are currently in the 2b division, but their relegation was confirmed after they could only manage a draw at the weekend.
By modern day standards Ibiza is an extremely safe place to holiday. This is a weeks worth of news and so its effect is magnified. Please do not fret while you are here - you are quite safe!!
If you have any stories for our incidents section then call or fax 971-348-271 or e-mail on: email@example.com
Back to top