Vicent Mari, president of Ibiza speaks to Lee Dinsdale for the Making Ibiza series
Lee: Hello this is Unity Radio the real sound of the city and we are broadcasting live here from Ibiza for the Making Ibiza Series and this is for The Logros Show. Just to recap, the Making Ibiza Series is about speaking to people who live, work and are from Ibiza and it is the first interview that we have done for a while. We were waiting for news on flights from the UK and we now have the green light therefore we are starting the series again. We have guests for the summer and our first guest is Vicent Marí who is the President of Ibiza, welcome Vicent.
Vicent: Thank you very much.
Lee: We’ve actually come down today to the Ibiza Councils office to speak with Vicent and we are going to be finding out more about travel restrictions. We also want to ask about what life is like being President; also what you can do here in Ibiza when you arrive in terms of tourism, hospitality, gastronomy and also some of the questions that the British do want to know is what is happening with the discotheques and clubs as well so a few questions for you but firstly lets start with the travel restrictions because there is some confusion back home still, so what is happening with the travel restrictions?
Vicent: Well now we have the green light so you can come from Great Britain to Ibiza and when you return you don’t have to quarantine so this is really important for us. You only have to come with the vaccine or with a PCR, that’s important because until now this was impossible; from this moment you can fly to Ibiza, you can enjoy the island and this is really important. The restrictions are the minimum but you have to come with the guarantee that you are not going to get the infection so this important.
Lee: That’s great news because I know there has been some confusion. Some people still think you need a vaccine to come but actually it is a vaccine or a PCR test to arrive into Ibiza. When you arrive here what are the restrictions, just to clarify in terms of places closing and what plans do you have into the future to open up the island more as well?
Vicent: Right so the island is open and you can come here and enjoy a really good holiday. So you have the hotels open and all the beaches, the restaurants. You can live like normal people there is no other restrictions so really what we have closed now is the discos because it is a risk but we think in time when the vaccination is finished or of a high level – more than 70% then the discos will open again but that’s not the point at this moment. We want to restart our economy and then all the people coming from other countries can enjoy excellent holidays; it’s working.
Lee: It is working and if you are just joining us this is Unity Radio The Real Sound of The City, the Making Ibiza series and we are joined by the president of Ibiza. We are in the beautiful gardens of the building of the council and just a quick recap, why are the British tourists so important to Ibiza?
Vicent: The British people represent around 30% of our tourism so it’s important, so they are our first market and they are our friends. They have been coming here for a long time; there are 2 kinds of British – the people who have been coming over the years, they return year after year and they are our friends really. Then we have the people who have never been to Ibiza before and they will discover a really interesting island; a different island. It is only 2 hours from Great Britain so it is easy to come to Ibiza and enjoy the sun, the beaches and the gastronomy, sports, everything really. Ibiza has what you look for so it is the island of freedom and now in the pandemic you can come and enjoy holidays safely.
Lee: I first came here when I was 18, then 24 and I’ve been coming here ever since and I moved here during the pandemic. Once you come to Ibiza and you experience the time here you keep coming back. Do you find that of the tourists, that they have been coming here for many years?
Vicent: People have been coming here for many years, you have the grandfathers, then the fathers and now the sons so generations come here and many people come more than once a year. Ibiza is not an island that is only for young people; it is an island for all the ages and you can enjoy the many islands that we have here. We say Ibiza is all islands in one, you can travel all around the world, you can travel and visit many islands but if you want to discover all of them then you have to come to Ibiza and it’s for all the ages. That’s interesting for Ibiza and for the tourists that they want to discover something different and to have a magnificent experience.
Lee: What are the presidents top picks – without showing favouritism! What do you recommend when people come over, what do you like to do yourself?
Vicent: Well if you like to go to the beach then you can discover paradisiac beaches and you can be alone on a rock in the sun and have a magnificent experience. There is a lot of people visiting Ibiza but then you can find a corner or a little place where you can enjoy the freedom and it is fantastic. I like to eat fish and the gastronomy is excellent. If you like fish there is a dish called Bullet de Peix, it’s fantastic or there is paellas, cheesecake. There are water sports all around the island and you can practice and here you have culture, history and world heritage. Ibiza is an island with a lot of history, many civilisations from the past have visited Ibiza, that’s really interesting .
Lee: I did want to ask about the history. You were born in Ibiza; what happened in the 60’s and 70’s and how did Ibiza from your memory evolve into the holiday destination that it is today?
Vicent: Ibiza is one of the oldest ports in the Mediterranean so the Phoenicians came, the Carthaginians then the Romans, then the Muslims and since 1235 the Christians so many civilisations have passed through the island. There was an agricultural community before the tourism in the 50’s and 60’s then the mentality and the culture changed and then came the hippies in the 70’s – many people have come and here is an open community and society so we are really tolerant and we work with everybody. We have a personality that makes it easy to make contact with any civilisation so we are really open and that’s what the people like about Ibiza. The people who live here the ibicencians are really good people – of course I have to say that! They are really open and they take care of all the visitors.
Lee: That’s what I’ve noticed since I’ve been here and it is such an international place. I could be having dinner with someone from Australia, someone from Italy, America, Spain, Greece all around the table so that history that you are describing of all the different cultures mixed in is what kind of brings the magic of Ibiza together. Can we talk a little bit about your own history – how did you get into politics and what does it take to become the President of Ibiza?
Vicent: I was the mayor of Santa Eulalia for 12 years and now I have been the president of Ibiza for 2 years so 14 years in politics and I like to work for my community. I was working with other people in the private sector and then I decided to have the political experience because I think if you want to change things you have to be involved and you have to work from inside not only talk; you have to involve yourself in your community and for me the experience of working for my neighbours and the people that you live with is a really interesting experience. After 12 years in Santa Eulia where we have done a lot of projects with modernity for the municipality then I am working for all the citizens and habitants of Ibiza . Now I have the opportunity to improve and work for all the people who live here and also to promote the island outside of Ibiza so the touristic promotion is really important for us and we want to show the real face of Ibiza. This is really interesting and exciting.
Lee: What do you like most about your job?
Vicent: The contact with the people and then to talk about Ibiza, the marvellous island that we have here and we want to share this with everybody and the people have to know this island. Many people come here on holidays and then when they discover the island they come again to live on the island so it is really important because here you can enjoy the life with another view. You can enjoy the island for 1 week 2 weeks but for many people, British people a lot of them live in Ibiza for many years so when you come here sometimes you don’t want to leave!
Lee: Well this is it people miss a lot of flights when they come to Ibiza! Just to finish up, about your job – when does your term as president finish?
Vicent: Every 4 years we have elections so we are in the middle.
Lee: What do you want to have achieved by the time you have left office?
Vicent: Well now that we are in the middle of a pandemic it is a really difficult situation. Our economy had completely stopped and I want to improve the social situation and also improve the economy of the island, that is what we are working for. There is a lot to do to re-start the economy to have a better life for the people who live here. Also I want to convince many people to come to Ibiza to live on the island so that is the most important target at this moment.
Lee: Great and on the political side of Ibiza is it mostly left or right, I’m not too sure:
Vicent: We have 5 town halls in Ibiza 3 rights and 2 left. The council of Ibiza is on the right.
Lee: So for the people listening you work with the Balearics overall as well?
Vicent: Yes I work for the Balearic island in Mallorca then we have the parliament and I am involved in the Balearic Parliament so if you want to improve and get a better island you have to claim many things to the bigger island; they have the money. We don’t want all the money to stay in Mallorca we also want the money to make investments here in Ibiza. The small islands always have to ask for that and negotiate to get more money to make more investments.
Lee: What would you say for those wanting to go into politics? There may be some young people listening and what you were saying about working within the community fits very well with Unity Radio; we do a lot of work in the community as well. What would you say are some of the key skills in terms of politics; do you think people should learn if they want to become a politician?
Vicent: It is important that young people know the politics and what it means to work for your community and they have to be involved in that. It’s very easy to talk about the work the politicians do but it is very important because then you have the possibility to get a better situation for the community so it is hard work and its important that the young people are involved in that. If you really want to change society then you have to make it from inside and you have to take care of all the things necessary to make change and it means work; it means that you have to be involved and have to think how you can change the world and if you work with your neighbours this is really important.
Lee: Finally what are the plans for the future of the island? What is the council planning in terms of evolving and development of the island?
Vicent: Here we have one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world and we want to keep that. We want to protect our environment and protect the island for the next generations – that is really important for us. We want to keep all the paradise that we have here. We have to take care abut this – this is a small island and we have to be careful with all the things we have here. We want better condition of life but we want to protect our sea, our landscapes; we have to work on that day by day and it is really important to protect the island.
Lee: Thank you and one last question and for the Making Ibiza series we ask this question of everyone on the show. In your opinion and being an Ibicenco as well what would you say makes Ibiza for you?
Vicent: Ibiza is freedom, it is landscape, it’s sea; it’s sun, gastronomy and world heritage. Ibiza is a paradise so that is what you think of when you are here in Ibiza and it’s all islands in one. That is our mark.
Lee: Okay, brilliant thank you very much. This is Unity Radio, the Logros Show and the Making Ibiza series. Than you very much.
Vicent: Thank you very much.
What is this interview about?
Ibiza and the history of Ibiza
Ibiza as a place for holidays
Travelling to Ibiza at this particular time during the pandemic
Who may Be Interested in This Article?
Those wishing to take a holiday in Ibiza
Anyone thinking of working in Ibiza
People who want to find out what Ibiza is about as a holiday destination
People who want guidance as to the restrictions and rules travelling to Ibiza during the pandemic
Making Ibiza is a series of Live FM radio shows broadcast from different locations in Ibiza with people who work in Ibiza from the world of Business, Culture and Wellbeing.
More interviews here: www.unityradio.fm/making-ibiza