DRUNKEN holidays in the Balearics will soon become a thing of the past, because the regional government has outlawed all tourism and commercial activities encouraging excess drinking.
Cheap accommodation, flights and packages mean the islands’ coasts are popular with groups of young friends.
They are often on one of their first holidays away from home, and the availability and inexpensive nature of alcohol creates round-the-clock drinking.
This generally happens in the spring and summer months in certain key resort towns, such as Mallorca and Ibiza.
Anti-social behaviour is usually rife in these areas at night during the high season, with vomiting, nudism and sexual acts in public making life unbearable for locals.
In addition, fights, noise and vandalism lower the tone of the area, giving the Balearics an unjustifiably poor image as a bargain-basement holiday destination.
The shame is that the Balearic Islands are actually a huge hit with families, culture vultures, history and nature lovers.
They have much to offer the discerning visitor at any time of year. But, unfortunately, the drunken antics of mostly-British young adults have made international headlines.
Now, however, the regional government has finally decided to alter the landscape, targeting the heaviest tourist areas, which feature Magaluf, Palma beach and the West End of Ibiza’s San Antonio (Sant Antoni de Portmany).
The Ibiza authorities have passed a law, described as “pioneering in Europe”. It means that organised pub-crawls are now illegal, “happy hours” and promotions in bars, such as two-for-one and three-for-one are no longer permitted, and neither are booze cruises.
In addition, automatic alcohol dispensers are banned, and shops are prohibited from selling alcohol between 9.30pm and 8am.
Also, hotels and restaurants can give each customer a maximum of just three alcoholic drinks, with a main meal.
Numerous serious accidents and fatalities have been caused by northern Europeans, especially young, drunken Brits, falling from balconies, sometimes accidentally, when trying to climb into a neighbouring apartment, via the terrace. Sometimes, they have forgotten their door keys and are attempting to scramble up into their rooms via the outside.
Occasionally, though, their actions are deliberate, in a crazy stunt known as “balconing”. This involves their attempts to jump off a balcony into the swimming pool below, or leaping from terrace to terrace.
Needless to say, these dare-devils are usually fuelled by drink and bravado, with friends egging each other on. But hotels are now legally obliged to kick out any tourists known to have been “balconing”, or encouraging others to do so.
The onus is on the hotel or apartment resort to expel the offenders. But if the management decides not to take action, the business can be fined. And those tourists who take part in these foolhardy games could be fined between €6,000 and €60,000.
Hotels, which will also be fined the same sum, can face hefty penalties if they do not warn guests that they risk being removed from the premises if they practise this behaviour.
Other astern measures have also
Rooms cannot be let by the hour, but only overnight, and alcohol advertising is prohibited, as well as any alcohol being on display in hotels.
Premises failing to comply could face being shut down for up to three years, with fines ranging from €60,000 to €600,000.
There are host of other “must-nots”, and this is the first law in Europe to restrict promotion and consumption of alcohol in specific parts of towns, as well as being the first to clamp down legally on thoughtless behaviour by hotel guests.
The region’s Tourism, Work and Economy Minister, Iago Negueruela, said his team had spoken extensively with hoteliers and resort managers, bars, restaurants, and other, main, commercial players in the holiday industry.
He said the law, to apply immediately, would run for five years, initially, although existing contracts held by tour operators and hotels will be honoured, if they are in conflict with the new legislation.
Meanwhile, new laws for all-inclusive hotel and restaurant deals will be in place by the end of the year, according to Tourism Minister Iago Negueruela.
He told the Balearic parliament on Tuesday: “Zoning and specific limitations will be implemented, in places where mass consumption of alcohol and excesses are encouraged.”
The Minister also said that these limitations would affect restaurants, bars, entertainment and shops, as well as hotels in specific areas.
The PP Deputy Salomé Cabrera said those affected by the new law were being consulted in a bid to produce a text that all parties can agree to, and the bill, which includes work done by his predecessor, Bel Busquets, will be finished by the end of this year.
Cabrera said the document was earmarked for approval in the last legislature, but was delayed because of other issues, such as holiday rentals and regulation of the eco-tax, which were more pressing.
the Balearic Government’s Tourism Ministry is set to issue bans to all-inclusive hotels in Magaluf and Le Palma de Mallorca
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