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Miguel Tur, Sant Antoni: tradition, produce and quality

Miguel Tur, Sant Antoni: tradition, produce and quality

Miguel Tur © ffmag

Born and bred in Sant Antoni, four years ago professional chef Miguel Tur (1978) set off on one of the most exciting adventures of his life: politics. The main issues that concern him are making tourism less season-dependent, winning back the Nordic and Dutch markets, refurbishing the town’s hotels and boosting its food sector. After a term leading the municipal Department of Tourism and Festivities, Tur looks back at everything that has been achieved and insists that the past few years have only been “the beginning of the change.” 

What headline would you use for the past four years at Sant Antoni Town Council?
The beginning of the change.

Where is Sant Antoni today, in terms of food?
It’s in a wonderful place, it’s flourishing. We weren’t on the culinary map four years ago, we had some great restaurants, we had the produce, but we didn't know how to sell or publicise it. We seized promoting the town by the horns and, as we were fully aware of its potential, jumped straight into selling Sant Antoni as a foodie destination, with “zero mile” produce from our fishermen’s guild that, in conjunction with the farmers’ cooperative, today means that Sant Antoni is spearheading the food sector in Ibiza. We had the first Michelin-starred restaurant on the island and the first Repsol suns, but we also have a far wider range of high-quality food. In fact, the other day, a hotel owner told me that he’d had some guests staying who had come to spend a few days in Sant Antoni to eat, just to eat and try things. It made us really proud!

Bullit de pèix

Bullit de pèix © Sant Antoni

How has Sant Antoni’s tourism model changed over the past few years?
When we started to govern, the mayor and the team established some long-term goals but we were surprised to see that after just four years, and even with the pandemic in the mix, you could already see some green shoots. We’re working on both the Spanish market, where making tourism less season-dependent is more viable, and on winning back the Nordic and Dutch markets. We’ve taken specialised press trips and organised a range of activities that have had an impact, which you can already see in the accommodation statistics. It’s also important to mention that we’ve succeeded in unclogging town planning, prioritising the refurbishment of the town’s hotels and giving licences to the two first five-star hotels in the city (two more are on their way...). This has all meant that, together with employers and businesspeople, we’re already seeing changes beginning to happen. Thanks to investment in hotels, there’s already a noticeable change in customer, in terms of both their purchasing power and the diversity of nationalities. Although the English are still the main nationality, there is a notable increase in the Dutch, Scandinavian, Swiss and Spanish markets.

Is Sant Antoni a culinary destination in itself, or will it be?
Sant Antoni is already a culinary destination and it’s not me that’s saying that, it’s all the big guides and everyone who visits us. Just look at all the publications that mention us. And all the ones that say we’re a benchmark on the island.

Which of the actions that you’ve performed over the past few years do you think have been the most decisive?
In terms of change, it’s definitely been unclogging town planning and prioritising the refurbishment of the hotels. It’s meant that hotel quality has improved, many now have four stars, and of course we now have two new five-star hotels. That’s clearly had an impact on the quality of tourists who visit us. Then, I’d say all the publicity we did as part of the “Sant Antoni 365: one sun all year round” campaign. It’s helped us extend the season, open markets and show people the real Sant Antoni and its attractions. We’ve worked on tourism promotion like never before and I think you can see the difference. The numbers prove it too...

Chefs. Sant Antoni

Chefs © Sant Antoni

Which Spanish and international fairs and events has Sant Antoni City Council taken part in during this term?
We go to all the big fairs: WTM in London, ITB in Berlin, FITUR in Madrid and also Gourmet and Madrid Fusión. I’d like point out that, during this term, we’ve really given visiting this kind of event its due importance for the first time. It’s essential and, in conjunction with all our other work, it clearly helps to establish Sant Antoni as a destination.

Which restaurants in Sant Antoni have won awards from the Michelin and Repsol guides? Do you think the town will receive a lot more awards soon?
As I mentioned, our town won the first Michelin star on the island (at Es Tragón), which also has two Repsol suns. Then we’ve got one sun at Es Ventall and Las Dos Lunas and, if I remember correctly, two ‘soletes’, one at Ritas Cantina and another at Hostal La Torre. We also have several recommendations at the moment, such as Es Gerret and El Chiringuito at Cala Gracioneta, and I’m sure both will win something very soon.

Álvaro Sanz, chef Es Tragón. Ibiza

Álvaro Sanz © Sant Antoni

How do you see the future of food at San Antonio?
I think it’s taking off: we’re now a destination that people want to invest in, and that means more restaurants and businesses will open so, alongside what we already have, there will be lots to talk about in terms of food. And this year there are going to be lots of surprises and openings that I’m sure will become leading players in the town.

What are the best aspects of tourism and food in Sant Antoni?
The diversity. Sant Antoni is in constant motion. You can go to one of the most photographed beaches on Instagram; eat one of the best rice dishes on the island with your toes in the sand; have a drink while watching the best sunset in the world; have dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant and try tasting menus based on local, zero-mile produce. We’re looking to the future while always remembering tradition, produce and quality.

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