Spain’s Balearic Islands have banned happy hours and offers of unlimited drinks at some of its most popular tourist resorts in an effort to put an end to what it calls “drunken tourism”.
The government of the islands – which include Ibiza Menorca and Mallorca – announced on Friday it was implementing the bans for five years at Arenal, Sant Antoni de Portmany and Magaluf.
“We stop the ‘happy hours’, risk behaviours and alcohol without limits in the areas most affected by [uncivilised] behaviour,” it said, claiming to be the first European tourist destination to do so.
As well as cracking down on drinks offers that encourage tourists to consume vast quantities of alcohol, the government is also banning so-called ‘party boats’ and pub crawls. It also announced that “jumping between balconies” at hotels was also now forbidden.
Meanwhile, shops will no longer be allowed to sell alcohol after 9.30 pm at night.
It warned that bars and pubs that failed to comply would face fines of up to €60,000 and closures of venues for up to three years.
“The wording of this rule has occurred after a wide dialogue and is justified by the general interest in avoiding this type of behaviour in certain tourist areas of the Balearic Islands,” it said.
The Balearic Islands are among Spain’s most popular tourist destinations, with 13.8 million visitors in 2018, up from around 9m in 2009. Many are young people from other European nations who flock to party islands like Ibiza and Mallorca.
Although tourism is the lifeblood of many of the islands, the authorities have long attempted to rein in public drunkness with fines on street drinking and even the deployment of British police officers on the streets of Spanish resorts to deal with rowdy Brits.
That the authorities have singled out ‘balconing’ – meaning tourists who jump from balcony to balcony – reflects a craze that was described as “endemic” in certain Spanish resorts in a report by the International Journal of Care of the Injured in 2017.
Over five years, it revealed, 40 people were injured attempting to jump from balcony to balcony, 28 of them British. In 2013, the trend prompted the British Foreign Office to issue a warning after one man was killed and three injured over the course of a month.