Modern business activity did not appear in Ibiza and Formentera until well into the nineteenth century. There is an important antecedent, the naval construction that reached a great flight at the end of century XVIII. The organization of this sector is not known and, in any case, its decadence was almost total in the mid-nineteenth century.
From about 1880 onwards, the Pitiusas are slowly incorporating the economic system that emerged from the industrial revolution and there are a number of initiatives that can already be described as business in a modern sense: production of goods and services aimed at a broad market. In this period, the most important company of the Ibizan economy appears: the Salinera and behind it a whole series of small shipping, commercial and even industrial companies. The 1906 data come from the Tourist Guide of Artur Pérez-Cabrero. The data of 1924 and 1960, of the registration of the Chamber of Commerce of Mallorca, Ibiza and Formentera and of the year 2000, of the census of the Tax on Economic Activities. Obviously, the methodology followed by each of the three sources is completely different, which has required the creation of a specific table of activities in which they have had to group unhindered activities. In addition, the data of 1906, 1924 and 1960 are not complete, for example for the year 1960 does not appear activities like the cinemas or the spectacles, therefore the figure of 1,091 companies of that year constitutes a minimum. The 1924 numbers are the least complete of all, they present important deficiencies, especially at retail level. Artur Pérez-Cabrero left us the first description of the Ibicencas companies. It collects a total of 132 establishments of commerce and industry. These 132 companies had a total of 214 different economic activities among which dominated the retail trade, which represented almost half of the total. The services sector, which accounted for one-fifth of the enterprises, and the industrial and agricultural products sector, accounted for 15% of all business activities. Artistic activities such as tailors, talabarders and jewelers were also important. The modernization process that the economy of Ibiza was experiencing at that time was reflected by the emergence of an electric energy production company, a manufacturer of parts for textile machinery, three companies that use mechanical tools for sawing wood or grinding pine holm oak, Two soap factories and six garment manufacturers. The balance is quite modest, but it represents an important advance on the description of the Archduke Louis Salvador of Austria some forty years earlier. Comparing between 1906 and 1924 stands out the increase in the number of transport companies. In those years appeared the first taxis and the regular lines of coaches that united the city of Ibiza with the different towns. Thirteen coaches were already traveling through Ibiza that year. The industrial sector significantly increased the number of active enterprises in the same way as wholesale traders. Artisan activities and traditional services began to lose weight. The changes were consistent with the consolidation of the new model of economy based on salt, an agricultural export of agricultural and forestry products and a minimum textile manufacturing. Between 1906 and 1960 the population of Ibiza and Formentera increased almost 40%, but the number of companies had multiplied by at least five. In 1960, the long post-war tunnel had just come out and the island economy was just beginning to change the economic model focused on tourism. This year represents the end point of an economic structure focused on primary activities. Retail trade still accounted for one-third of all businesses, decreased the importance of industrial and manufacturing activities (14%), and artisan activities fell dramatically. On the other hand, tourism, transportation and construction activities grew greatly. The excessive fall of the services sector in 1960 was probably due to the industrial and commercial registration of the data. In 2000 the industrial fabric of Ibiza has already reached a structure in which tourism plays an overwhelming role. The largest activity is still retail, with 29%, but now 23% of declared activities are hotel or catering, 16% are different services of transport and repairs and 14% is linked to construction . The weight of transport activities has been greatly reduced and industrial, manufacturing and artisan activities are once again marginal. Currently the most important activity is the hotel.
In Ibiza and in Formentera it has And 633 declarations of activity of hotel companies, pensioners or renting apartments. These companies taken understands an extraordinarily wide range of business dimensions. There is a large group of small companies that rent a few apartments or operate establishments that rarely exceed 100 places with a few business groups that have acquired the status of multinationals in having holdings in different countries of the world. According to data from the Ministry of Tourism, at the end of 2000 there were 669 tourist accommodation establishments in Ibiza and in Formentera, of which more than 500 belong to small companies that operate one or two establishments with an average size of around 70 beds For exploitation. A few companies exploit large island hotels. Of particular note is the group of companies linked to the Matutes Juan family, centered on Doliga Agrupación Hotelera, which has almost eleven thousand beds in Ibiza and Formentera. This group has an equivalent number of places in different Spanish cities and in Caribbean countries. The hotel group Sirenis linked to the Matutes Tur family owns more than five thousand beds in Ibiza and has also made important investments in the Caribbean. Insotel and Viajes Ibiza (VISA Hotels), occupy the fourth and fifth position in the ranking of hotel companies. Both have more than 2,500 beds between Ibiza and Formentera. The Insotel group also owns an important hotel complex in Menorca and two in Mallorca. Viajes Ibiza is also a large receiving travel agency and its business group has the largest fleet of passenger coaches in Ibiza. Virtually all hotel companies belong to island capital. At the beginning of the 21st century, there are few hotels integrated in chains of capital outside our islands, although their number began to increase in the nineties of the twentieth century. The restoration subsector is extraordinarily fragmented. Most establishments belonging to family businesses that own a single bar or restaurant. In the 1990s, the entry of the big multinationals of the type of food called fast food began, but their penetration is still small. Very similar is the situation of the retail trade. Only in the subsector of food does an important presence of high-level companies, linked to state chains of hypermarkets and supermarkets. Another very fragmented business sector is construction. In the 1960s and 1970s several companies concentrated a large part of the market, but they were reduced in size and many new ones were born. A significant number of companies outside Ibiza and Formentera have also been introduced in the construction market. The companies installing electrical equipment, plumbing, etc. Experienced great expansion in the 1980s. Increased its quantity extraordinarily, always maintaining a very small dimension. The severe tourism crisis and the construction of the early 1990s forced the closure of more than half of these companies, and caused a significant concentration of the subsector that lasts at the beginning of the 21st century. The distribution of producers and traders of construction materials is different. There is a company that shows clear leadership, Supplies Ibiza, and a set of twenty companies of medium size. In all, these companies account for 90% of sales in the construction materials sector. In general they are large companies in the island context and, therefore, quite generalists, most offer a wide range of products and few are specialists in a single product. Some may even face virtually all the needs of a large housing project or hotel. Most of these companies belong to island capital. The business of travel agencies has two aspects, the receiving agencies, which offer services to the tour operators that send tourists in Ibiza and the retail stations. The former have been mostly introduced by their main customers: the major European tour operators. They are, therefore, medium-sized or large companies within their scope. The issuing retail travel agencies are almost all very small companies, they have between two and five employees normally and are concentrated in the city of Ibiza. The basis of their business is the sale of transportation tickets and travel arrangements for residents. At the level of banking and finance there is currently no Ibizan company. The only Ibizan bank was Banca Matutes born of the experience of its founder Abel Matutes Torres as correspondent of the Bank of Spain in Ibiza. From the thirties onwards The XX offered its services in a single office in Vila. In the seventies and eighties adopted the name Abel Matutes Torres S.A. - Bank of Ibiza and made a significant expansion for the Balearic Islands and the Mediterranean peninsula coast. The 1990s was absorbed by the Istituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino and then its assets were acquired by the Valencian savings bank CAM, Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo. Thus disappeared the only Ibiza company that had come to be listed on the Spanish stock exchange in the XX century.