With the global threat of terrorism scaring millions of tourists away from holiday spots like Turkey, Tunisia, and Egypt, Ibiza and its neighbouring Balearic islands have seen a huge increase in tourism this year.

Last year saw 13 million visitors overrun Mallorca and Menorca, an island chain with just 1.1 million inhabitants. And that’s only been expected to increase this year, likely making it Ibiza’s busiest yet.

And even with the recent “Sustainable Tourism Tax" that went into effect on July 1st — which levies a fee of 50 cents per person per night for camping and hostels, €2 for luxury hotels and upmarket apartments, halving in cost after eight nights — the island just can’t keep up.

There are environmental concerns, specifically about clean water, which is in short supply. And despite how much of the local economy relies on tourism, fears about the island hitting a breaking point are becoming a reality, and seem imminent.

So we reached out to Department of Tourism head Vicente Torres to find out exactly what the tourism tax does, how they plan on coping with water demands, and what they think about Ibiza’s busiest year yet.

Can the island handle the constant increases in tourism?

No, we have a limited capacity being an island. Not only regarding capacity of people, but also regarding capacity of potable water, other important infrastructures such as roads, treatment and desalination plants, etc. Also, we have to mention matters such as the noise or pollution.

How does the increase in tourism negatively impact the environment?

More people on the islands means more people consuming our resources (water, environment…) Nowadays we have nearly 100,000 legal touristic beds and a registered population of 13,000 inhabitants, approximately. The island is just 572 km²; we cannot support much more increase in tourism.


Read the full interview with Vincente Torres about the tourism impact on Ibiza over at Pulse Radio

By Chandler Shortridge

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