British holidaymakers jetting off on all-inclusive holidays to three of the Balearics’ most popular resorts will now face a clampdown on how much free booze they can make the most of. The new rules come as part of the Balearic government’s push back against “drunken tourism”.
The new regulations will be valid for five years, with a penalty-based-system of fines of up to €600,000 (around £502,600) and suspension of activity for up to three years for breaches.
The Balearic Government, which has been explaining its stance to tour operators and government officials in the UK, says the limit is needed as part of the overall plan to improve the image of these three party resorts which have been blighted by bad behaviour, largely believed to be the result of overconsumption of alcohol.
Most of the other measures under the new campaign, such as big fines for certain reckless behaviour and a ban on pub crawls, drink offers such as happy hours and two for ones, have been welcomed.
The document Majorca hotel federation FEHM has drafted and sent to its member hotels in Magaluf and the German-popular party resort of S’Arenal, which is also affected by the new regulations, says: “The hotel management informs clients that it is forbidden to engage in practices which endanger life, health and physical integrity in this establishment, for example by passing from a balcony or window to another and jumping from unsuitable locations into the swimming pool.”
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It adds: “Guests who carry out these dangerous practices will be expelled immediately by hotel management, with the assistance of the forces of law and order if necessary.”
Despite the positive view of some of the rules, though, the alcohol limit in the all-inclusive hotels has caused controversy.
ABTA, the British Association of Travel Agents, is asking the Balearic Government to think again about this element, saying it is “misdirected”.
“The Balearic Islands and the destinations of Magaluf and San Antonio are very popular with British holidaymakers,” said a spokesperson.
“While we strongly support initiatives that improve the health and safety of holidaymakers, as well as the welfare of local communities, such as encouraging bar owners to take a more responsible approach to the sale of alcohol and campaigning for balcony safety among young holidaymakers, we believe some of the measures announced in relation to addressing unsociable behaviour, for example targeting all-inclusive holidays, are misdirected.
” The vast majority of holidaymakers on all-inclusives are couples and families, so it is difficult to see how imposing strict rules on this type of arrangement will fix the problem of anti-social behaviour in resort.
“We would encourage the Balearic authorities to reconsider this.”
Meanwhile, hoteliers in the region are fearful that it could cost them.
Some say tourists are already choosing other establishments outside the zones so they can have unlimited alcoholic drinks as before.
What’s more, many of the hotels are just yards apart but not within the target zones of Arenal, Magaluf and San Antonio.
A spokesperson for the political party Vox, which votes against the measures, said this is not the right way to deal with the issues faced by the region.
Vox says the tough stance will lead to the closure of hotels, restaurants and bars in these tourist spots, where ten percent of jobs will be lost. “This is not the way to do it, this is the way to harm the tourism sector of the Balearic Islands,” said Mr Campos.