The IPF Sustainability Observatory warns the increase of tourist arrivals in the last decade has caused a loss of tourist competitiveness due to the territorial and environmental deterioration to Ibiza
The increase in the arrival of tourists to Ibiza and Formentera in the last decade has caused territorial and environmental deterioration that has affected the competitiveness of Ibiza’s tourist sector. The main motivation of tourists who come to Ibiza is the landscape and beaches, according to the 2016 Balearic Tourism Barometer, but these natural resources have suffered a progressive environmental degradation. This is reflected in the results of the 2018 report of the Sustainability Observatory, a key project of the Ibiza Preservation Foundation (IPF).
Since 2016, the arrival of tourists has increased by 4.5% to reach 3.2 million in 2018. The evolution of the arrival of tourists to Ibiza and Formentera has implied a “de-seasonalisation”, with an increase of tourists in high and low season. In the high season, tourists increased by 2.7% from 2.75 million in 2016 to 2.83 million in 2018. In the low season, a remarkable increase of 21% of tourists from 308,000 tourists in 2016 to more than 370,000 in 2018 is highlighted.
This increase is also seen in the evolution of human pressure in the last decade, counted as the sum of the resident and tourist population. The greatest human pressure occurs in August, with an increase of 20% from 2008 to 2018 reaching 333,411 people per day. In April, considered the month before the beginning of the peak season, the increase in the last decade has been more than 40% to exceed 200,000 people per day. In Ibiza and Formentera, counted annually there 20 tourists per inhabitant, higher than the Balearic Islands, which is located at 15 tourists per capita.
The increase in tourists on Ibiza responds mainly to an increase in supply of tourist homes. In 2018, the 90,000 tourist places in Ibiza were surpassed for the first time due to strong growth in the offer of legal tourist accommodation that has tripled from 3,133 places in 2012 to 10,502 in 2018, according to official data from the Consell d’Eivissa. To this needs to be added the high illegal offering of tourist housing on websites such as Airbnb, HomeAway or Tripadvisor. According to data published by the Balearic conservationist organisation Terraferida, based on an analysis of Airbnb, this website offered 27,297 tourist places in 2018 on Ibiza.
All this has caused a loss of tourist competitiveness due to the progressive territorial and environmental deterioration of Ibiza. The EXCELTUR organisation showed a loss of Balearic tourism competitiveness in its report MONITUR 2018 its assessment of urban density of destinations, level of congestion as well as environmental commitment. This loss of competitiveness also appears in the assessment of tourists who suspend travel to Ibiza due to mass tourism, cleanliness and pollution, according to the 2017 Report of the Gadeso Foundation.
The results of the 2018 report of the Observatory show a territorial and environmental deterioration of Ibiza that is causing this loss of tourist satisfaction. The urbanized area has increased by 15% in the period 2012-2018 according to the evolution of the land occupation CORINE LAND COVER. In addition, there is an increase in the congestion level of the island’s road network during the summer, increasing by 45% in working days in 2017 compared to the annual average. Likewise, the permanent capacity that quantifies traffic on the E-11 highway between the Blanca Dona roundabout and Can Negre roundabout shows a 30% increase in the average daily traffic intensity of vehicles in the last decade.
In relation to environmental indicators of the marine environment, Ibiza has suffered a loss of the quality of bathing water during the last decade, the main tourist resource of the island. 9 of the 48 sampled bathing areas have lost their classification as “excellent”. The bay of Sant Antoni and the surroundings of the city of Ibiza (Talamanca, Figueretas and Playa den Bossa) are the main beaches with loss of quality. The main cause is due to the poor sanitation of wastewater that causes a continuous discharge of sewage from the emissary of the treatment plant in Ibiza as well as accidental discharges from the sewage network in the area of Cala Bou. There has also been a degradation of Posidonia with dead meadows in these areas linked to the combined effect of intensive anchoring and sewage discharges.
The Observatory considers it necessary to continue with the effort to protect the territory of Ibiza, initiated with the modification of the Territorial Plan of Ibiza, avoiding urban development in natural spaces. In addition, it celebrates the greater control of uncontrolled anchoring determined by the approved Posidonia Decree but it must be accompanied by greater control of faecal water discharges for the improvement of the marine environment and the quality of bathing waters.
Read more about the IPF Sustainability Observatory