Ibiza is a Spanish island in the western Mediterranean Sea, a little more than 53 miles off the coast of Spain. Known for its vibrant summer nightlife, the place is a hot spot for European tourism, especially among young adults. In 2019, approximately 3 million tourists visited, dwarfing the island’s actual population of 148,000. They brought over $17 billion to the island and its close neighbors, the Balearics, of which Ibiza is the largest.
Of course, COVID-19 made dramatic changes to Ibiza’s summer outlook. Spain has only just reopened travel to the island in the first week of July, and large events are still banned, including the packed nightclubs that many think of as Ibiza’s beating heart.
All the same, generosity blooms large on the island. A community organization called Together for Healthcare Heroes, supported by Ibiza’s tourism council, has been launched to offer healthcare workers from the EU and the UK free vacations. Not now, of course, but in April, May, and October of 2021 when, hopefully, the world has gotten on top of the pandemic.
And they’re not just offering the properties to doctors and nurses. “Healthcare Heroes are staff that worked at the front line of the pandemic. It is important to understand that in the hospitals that were hit the hardest, everybody was fighting for the lives of our friends and families. Therefore we must include all job profiles in such hospital hotpots, not only medical staff,” the organization’s website reads.
More than 60 properties in Ibiza have volunteered to join the program, including hotels, restaurants, charter companies, and private homeowners. Their goal is to be able to provide as many week-long vacations as possible, given to healthcare workers who have gone above and beyond during the crisis.
“Unprecedented times highlight exceptional people,” says the mission statement on the Together for Healthcare Heroes website. “We thank those who we have trusted with our lives, by gifting them our homes and hotels in Ibiza and across Europe.”
Interested healthcare workers, or those who know one, can sign up for their email updates to keep track of when nominations open. Hospitals, especially, are encouraged to nominate their staff. The nomination and selection processes are still being finalized but will be made public soon.
Photo: Palm trees against a sunset sky in Ibiza. Credit: Shutterstock