Formentera beach bars change owners

Tables in a beach bar in Formentera with the sea in the background and a girl in the water.

If there is one piece of news that has surprised us all during this month of April, it is the change in the Formentera beach bar model as we knew it until now.

New companies take all the licenses

The Contracting Board for the island’s beach concessions has decided that all the family management of the beach bars on the beaches of Formentera that has been carried out over the last decades, have a much more business oriented model. In other words, there are no longer any of the old concessionaires left, which has caused a real shock for all the family businesses that are part of the Formentera Beach Concessionaires Association.

The state of indignation on the part of these businessmen is collective, because they do not understand the decision that the Island Council has made, which will leave all these family-owned companies in the lurch, having to start over again with another business or company. Obviously, the main complaint is that those who will take control of these businesses are much larger companies, against which they cannot compete in any way. Likewise, they affirm that the tourist management model of the island as we know it today has been the result of their work, and it is totally unfair that other people now come to take charge of it.

Why have the current concessionaires lost their beach bars?

All these changes have occurred because the bases drawn up for beach concessions contracts began to value the economic offer as one third of the total score.

Historically, the license fee was a fixed fee that did not count towards valuing the project and thus granting the concession/beach bar license, but in the terms of the last competition the economic offer was free and part of the contract, thus the higher it was, the more points you obtained.

However, it is expected that in the future, this will not be the only change that businesses on the island will face, and many are already talking about a change in the tourism business model. What is clear is that this change of hands directly affects local businessmen, who continue to carry out their main activity, without being able to fight against the change in tourism that the island is facing, increasingly further away from family oriented and environmentally friendly tourism.

After hearing the news, hope was not yet lost for the last two beach bars on the island of Formentera that remained to be awarded: the Piratabus bar in Migjorn and the Kiosko la Franja, also in Migjorn. However, we have learned today that none of the two will once again be managed by the companies that managed them until now. In fact, the person in charge of the La Franja kiosk has directly chosen not to apply for another contract when she saw the tough conditions that were required. The Piratabus beach bar, for its part, has tried to revalidate its license, although they have only been able to revalidate third place.

Once again, this latest news shows the change in model that will be experienced on the island and how this will negatively affect local family businesses, which have once again been surpassed by the large tourism players, with more economic muscle and that will have to reinvent themselves in order to survive in this new context.

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