Majorca and Ibiza Ban Pub Crawls and 'Happy Hour' in New Crackdown on Boozy Tourists

Photo by AP Photo/Joan Llado, File via Newscred

by Hugh Morris, The Telegraph, January 31, 2020

The holiday islands of Majorca and Ibiza have passed a new law aimed at tackling the excesses and “unsociable behaviour” of alcohol-fuelled tourists.

The government of the Balearic Islands said pub crawls will be banned in the neighbourhoods of Palma and Magaluf on Majorca, and San Antonio in Ibiza, as well as the promotion of open bars, “happy hours” and the sale of alcohol in off licenses overnight.

There are also additional restrictions on “party boats” and a new crackdown on “balconing”, the practice of jumping between balconies and into swimming pools, which has led to a number of holidaymaker deaths.

Anyone found committing a “serious offence” according to the new law could be fined €60,000 (£51,250) and expelled from their accommodation.

The Balearic Island Government said in a statement that the legislation, which it says is the first of its kind in Europe, is aimed at “forcing real change in the tourism model of these destinations; promoting responsible conduct... and avoiding issues derived from excessive alcohol consumption in certain places”.

In the first instance the rules will be valid for five years in the following areas, all popular with British, German and Italian tourists: Playa de Palma, El Arenal, Magaluf, and the West End of Sant Antoni de Portmany. The remaining Balearic islands of Menorca and Formentera were not mentioned.

While authorities say the law is intended to improve the visitor experience, some have said the rules will harm the local economy.

“I find this exaggerated and disproportionate,” Jose Tirado, president of Majorca’s Tourism Services and Businesses Association, said in an interview on Spanish state television.

The edict is the latest effort from the Spanish islands to change the reputation of a number of its most popular tourist spots.

In 2015 authorities in Magaluf introduced new rules clamping down on public nudity, urinating in the street and other misdemeanours. One such effort even included the deployment of British police officers to monitor bad behaviour.

The nightlife culture of Magaluf specifically came under intense scrutiny in 2014 after a film of a 18-year-old woman performing sex acts on 24 men during a pub crawl on the Punta Ballena strip went viral.

By 2016, the group behind a regeneration project in the town said that the number of families visiting the resort was up and the transformation to an upmarket destination was continuing apace.

The laws, introduced on Friday last week, however, suggest there is more to be done.

“The creation of this new bill is in the public interest and has come about following extensive dialogue,” the Balearic government said.

In addition to individual responsibility, establishments that breach the legislation could be fined up to €600,000 (£512,000).

Magaluf is not alone in attempting to curb alcoholic excesses from its resorts. In 2018, the mayor of Ayia Napa said that boozy lads holidays were no longer welcome at the Cypriot hotspot, adding that it was the end for the “low quality youth” market.

Similarly, the Croatian island of Hvar introduced fines for numerous alcohol-related misdemeanours, while the local government of Kavos, Corfu, brought in strict late-night music restrictions.

Even in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, a destination that thrives on its reputation for cheap thrills, authorities have launched a crusade against drunken tourists.

In summer 2017 the deputy prime minister, Valeri Simeonov, joined a police raid on nightclubs accused of flaunting noise restrictions, before posting on Facebook: “In our country there is lawlessness and bacchanalia – we will change it.

“We will attract more solvent tourists, and we will have a better quality of tourism.”

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This article was written by Hugh Morris from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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