The Balearic Islands will deploy extra police and undercover inspectors to enforce new limits on alcohol consumption and promotion in areas popular with young holidaymakers from April.
The Balearics government approved a crackdown on excessive drinking in resorts including Magaluf, Playa de Palma and El Arenal in January.
Tourism minister Iago Negueruela and general director of tourism for the Balearic Islands Rosana Morillo were in London this week to explain the measures to UK tour operators and to insist: “We want British tourists. We don’t want this type of tourism.”
Negueruela said: “British tourism is essential for our islands.” But he added: “We share with the British government the view that some images of British tourists are embarrassing.
“We want to put a stop to bad behaviour. From April-May this year we will increase the police presence in these areas and the number of inspectors.
“We will have zero tolerance for tourism excesses.”
Legislation approved in January and applied to four resort areas:
- Prohibits drink promotions such as happy hours and two-for-one offers,
- Limits the size of drinks in bars and restaurants,
- Prohibits promotion of ‘party boats’,
- Restricts the opening hours of alcohol retailers, and
- Limits the number of drinks included with set menus in restaurants.
There is also a limit on the drinks that can be served with meals in all-inclusive resorts to three at lunch and three at dinner.
Tourism director Rosana Morillo insisted the crackdown is not intended to stop holidaymakers enjoying a drink outside the alcohol-restriction zones.
She said these “are a really small area, just a very small part of our territory”.
The authorities have yet to establish the number of hotels, bars, restaurants and other businesses within the alcohol-restricted areas.
But Morillo said: “The limits of the area have been decided with the police and emergency services. It is the area where we have problems.
“The quality of alcohol in these places is a health problem. People can pay €10-€15 and drink as much as they want. You can’t believe the number of people who end up in hospital with alcohol poisoning.”
She insisted: “These are exceptional and temporary measures. The timeframe is five years. [But] if we work together the measures may be reviewed.
“We are not against fun. People can still come to our islands to party, but we want quality [tourism]. Most of the private sector also want the areas to change [and] they don’t want it to take five years.”
Morillo suggested it was unlikely drink problems would simply be displaced to other areas of the resorts and lead to enlarged restricted zones.
She said: “We don’t expect hoteliers and restaurants to move the problem from one area to another. It is in nobody’s interests to expand the area.”
Morillo added: “We believe this won’t have a big impact on family tourism. These areas are not what families look for. The impact on family tourism will not be high.”
Abta director of industry relations Susan Deer said: “Abta supports sustainable development in destinations.”
However, she said: “We’ve seen no evidence of people travelling to [Balearic Island] all-inclusives exhibiting the behaviour talked about.”
Morillo promised new guidelines for hotels and restaurants and said 2020 would be “a year of transition”.
The government has agreed that contracts between hoteliers and tour operators signed before January 23 this year will be honoured, meaning some UK all-inclusive customers will not be subject to the rules.
Deer explained: “Where there are contracts between hoteliers and tour operators signed before January 23, customers will not be subject to these provisions. Our tour operator members will already have advertised these holidays.
“Those properties which do not have an underlying contract will have to describe what the customer will be getting [under the new limits].”
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