‘As if Covid never happened’: Ibiza nightclubs reopen

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

“It’s as if Covid never happened here,” Michelle, a 31-year-old British healthcare worker, said as she entered the club, which has a population of 3,500.

After being closed for two years due to Covid-19, the Mediterranean island’s famous mega-clubs have reopened, attracting crowds of revelers.

“It exceeded our expectations,” said Paloma Tur, a spokesperson for Grupo Pacha, which runs the huge white nightclub that includes a rooftop terrace and garden.

“We still can’t say for sure that the numbers will be better than in 2019, but everything indicates so.”

As in many other venues, nearly all of the famous nightclub’s 150 staff received help from a government furlough scheme during the pandemic when Pacha was closed.

Before the pandemic, tourism accounted for 84% of Ibiza’s gross domestic product, for which clubbing is a major draw. The health crisis has been “a real disaster”, said Juan Miguel Costa of the island’s tourist office.

The pandemic has affected all sectors, but the leisure sector – which directly and indirectly employs more than 3,000 people – was the last to open up fully after virus restrictions were lifted.

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Mass tourism complaints

Roberto de Lope, managing director of nightclub operator Ushuaia Entertainment, said it was a “relief” to finally open their club on the island on April 30 and start selling drinks.

“But we are still affected, with a lot of loans that we have to repay,” he added.

On the southeast coast of the island, one of the clubs of the Hi Ibiza group, which can hold 5,700 people, was preparing to open at midnight.

But the party was already in full swing across the street in his other venue, Ushuaia.

As the sun set over the Mediterranean, more than 7,000 sun-kissed revelers danced around the pools at this outdoor club, which last year was only allowed to open for a few days and with reduced capacity .

Scotsman Calvin Harris, one of the highest paid DJs in the world, was performing that night.

Tickets at the door are 90 euros ($95) and cocktails sell for around 20 euros.

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But while mega-clubs attract wealthy tourists from around the world, many Ibizans say the island doesn’t need to party to attract visitors.

They point out that Ibiza and the neighboring island of Formentera attracted 1.9 million tourists in 2021, just over half of pre-pandemic figures, even though most nightclubs were closed.

“I think Ibiza has realized that we don’t just live parties,” said Jaume Ribas, spokesman for an association called “Prou”, or “enough” in Catalan, which has been campaigning for years. years against mass tourism on the island.

‘Do not hesitate’

Boasting many beautiful coves and beaches, Ibiza has a population of just 152,000, but its population peaks at up to 450,000 during the summer holidays.

The influx is causing traffic problems and has been blamed for an increase in drug-related crime as well as a housing shortage for locals.

“The problems have accelerated this year,” Ribas said.

The regional government of the Balearic Islands, of which Ibiza is a part, said it was working to strike a balance between tourism and sustainability.

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“Ibiza’s tourism model is changing,” Costa of the island’s tourism board said, citing efforts to shut down illegal rentals on roommate sites like Airbnb and shut down illegal raves.

“Obviously entertainment is a core commodity for us, we’re a world-renowned brand thanks to electronic music,” Costa added.

“But that’s no longer the case that the tourist season started when the nightclubs opened and ended and then they closed.”

Ibiza’s association with partying remains strong, however, especially as global tourism rebounds.

Sara Borrego, 32, came to Ibiza from Cadiz in southern Spain with a group of friends to celebrate her upcoming wedding, which has been postponed due to the pandemic.

Dressed in white and wearing a crown that said “married”, she never stopped dancing in the middle of the crowd in Ushuaia.

“There are no more restrictions, we don’t have to wear masks anymore, we feel free,” she said with a huge smile.

The post “As the Covid never happened”: the reopening of Ibiza nightclubs appeared first on TSTIME.

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