by Gavin Haines, The Telegraph, July 11, 2017
Hvar has a hard-reputation as one of Europe’s premier party destinations – Croatia’s answer to Ibiza, if you like – but the mayor of the island has announced new measures to rein in drunkenness and debauchery.
Consuming alcohol in the street will now invite a €700 (£620) fine from the authorities, who have erected signs that list various offences and corresponding penalties.
In a bid to bring a bit of decorum back to the island, full or partial nudity will also be dealt with severely. Men walking around with their shirts off will reportedly be slapped with a €500 (£440) fine, while women wandering around in swimsuits can expect to pay €600 (£529), which doesn’t seem entirely consistent or fair.
Announcing the measures last month, the newly elected mayor, Rikardo Novak, struck a combative tone.
“They are vomiting in town, urinating on every corner, walking without T-shirts … crawling around, unconscious,” he told local media. “Young tourists are welcome, but they will have to learn how to behave here.”
Tourism in Croatia is booming – a reported 16 million people visited the country last year – but while an increase in overseas arrivals has given the economy a boost, it has also created problems. Residents in Dubrovnik claimed last month that their city is being blighted by the hordes of tourists who arrive there every day, many piling off cruise ships for just a few hours.
Similar problems are also becoming more acute in Venice, Italy where anti-tourism protesters have taken to the water to intercept cruise vessels as they enter the city.
Hvar is not the only European destination getting tough on anti-social behaviour this summer. The Spanish town of San Pedro del Pintar, a resort just south of Alicante, has reportedly announced steep fines for a range of offences.
According to Murcia Today, a local news site, people playing bat and ball on San Pedro del Pintar’s beach could face fines of up to €750 (£662). Playing instruments or listening to music could invite similar penalties, it is claimed.
The measures will come into effect on July 18 and have been described by critics as “over zealous”.