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Great Britain

Spain holiday crackdown: Benidorm in bid to BAN all-inclusive alcohol to stop louts

Tourists flocking to the brash Majorcan holiday destination and the raucous West End area of San Antonio on neighbouring Ibiza this summer face fines of more than £50,000 for balcony jumping. Alcoholic drinks offered as part of all-inclusive hotel packages in the two areas, as well as S’Arenal in Majorca which is most popular with Germans, will also be limited to three at lunch and three at dinner as part of a pioneering regional government decree.

Today Karen Maling Cowles, president of the Benidorm British Business Association, described them as a “step in the right direction” and said she and other association members would welcome their introduction for the Costa Blanca resort.

The leader of the association, which represents 30 British-run businesses in the town, said: “I totally agree with what’s being done in places like Magaluf and I’d like to see something along those lines being brought in here.

“I think something’s got to be done now rather than adopting a ‘let’s wait and see how it goes there’ attitude because the more you wait and see the bigger the problem grows.

“I support the idea of fines and consequences for peoples’ actions.

“It’s a small piece in the jigsaw because other things need to be done as well, from educating business owners to be more responsible to getting airports, tour operators and airlines involved so they control what people drink.

“Everybody needs to be on board.”

She added: “I’m not sure fines and decrees on their own are going to solve the problem and it’s one thing bringing in a law and another thing implementing it.

“To stop every bar doing 2x1 and happy hours is not going to be easy.

“But it’s definitely a start and a step forward in the right direction.

“Anything that can reduce the risk drunken tourism brings to the holidaymakers themselves and others around them is a plus.

“Drunken tourism obviously exists in Benidorm. Everywhere has it. You can’t close your eyes to it.”

Draft by-laws drawn up two years ago to tackle drunken tourism in the Costa Blanca resort, have yet to be approved in full.

The opposition Citizens Party called earlier this week for the draft document to be picked up again and passed as soon as possible.

Benidorm’s Little England area has been at the heart of a number of violent incidents over the past couple of years.

Last March Scots stag do reveller Jim Clark died after an altercation there. A British man was later arrested.

In May last year a group of drunk Brits heading to Benidorm were filmed guzzling beer from a funnel on a Ryanair plane - with the apparent encouragement of an air stewardess.

The men treated the aircraft like a nightclub as they took turns filming themselves on the beer bong in unbelievable scenes on board the early morning flight from London Stansted to Alicante.

In December a British holidaymaker thought to be high on drink and drugs sparked a major security alert in the resort after allegedly stealing a coach and starting a two-mile wrecking spree.

The new decree announced by the Balearic Islands regional government last Friday bans pub crawls and drink offers like happy hours and 2x1 in Magaluf, the West End area of San Antonio in Ibiza and S’Arenal.

Hotels will have the legal obligation to kick out holidaymakers caught leaping off balconies.

And tourists caught engaging in the dangerous practice, known in Spanish as balconing, have been warned they face fines of more than £50,000.

The decree, valid for five years, also limits the number of alcoholic drinks served in restaurants and hotels as part of all-inclusive offers to three at lunch and three at dinner.

Party boat operators are banned from picking up and dropping off revellers in the areas the law covers.

And shops in the resorts will be banned from selling alcohol between 9.30pm and 8am.

Under existing local by-laws covering Magaluf, tourists guilty of balconing were fined between £510 (€600) and £1275 (€1,500).

Hotels tended to kick out holidaymakers engaging in the life-threatening practice, although they were not legally obliged to do so.

Under the new decree approved by the Balearic Islands regional government balconing is considered a “serious” offence, which means they will be hit with fines of £5,100 (€6,000) to £51,100 (€60,000).

A regional government spokesman confirmed: “The new rules establish a penalty regime which puts special emphasis on serious and very serious misdemeanours.

“Those practices which are dangerous and cause risk to life or endanger the integrity and health of clients or the tourists who engage in them, will be considered serious misdemeanours.

“Serious misdemeanours will be dealt with by way of fines of between £5,110 and £51,100.”

In September 2018 a 20-year-old Brit from Newcastle injured himself in a fall from a Magaluf hotel while he was having a pee.

He was later landed with a fine after being visited by police in hospital.

A month earlier a British holidaymaker cheated death after plunging from a Magaluf sixth-floor balcony at the start of August while reportedly having a poo.

It later emerged he checked himself out of hospital - without waiting for doctors to give him the all-clear - before police could hand him his fine.

Most of the balcony falls in Magaluf and the party resort of San Antonio on the neighbouring island of Ibiza have been linked to excess alcohol.

Spain is the top destination for British tourists, with around 18 million people from the UK visiting the country every year.

Brits are the number one foreign visitors to Benidorm, with an estimated four out of every ten foreign tourists coming from the UK.

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