Plans to crack down on antisocial drinking in areas of the Balearic Islands popular with Brits could backfire and impact instead on couples and families, Abta has warned.
The Balearics Government last week brought into law stringent curbs designed to tackle antisocial drinking in Magaluf and Arenal in Majorca, and San Antonio in neighbouring Ibiza.
Restrictions include bans on happy hours and self-service drink dispensers, as well as pub crawls and “alcohol routes”, while off-licences selling alcohol will be shut between 9.30pm and 8am.
At all-inclusive properties, meanwhile, alcoholic drinks will be limited to six per day, three during lunch and three in the evening. The changes will apply to packages booked after the legislation came into force.
The move is part of the Balearics efforts to raise standards across the islands.
However, Abta said the restrictions could end up affecting the kind of holidaymakers it is seeking to attract.
“The Balearic Islands and the destinations of Magaluf, Arenal and San Antonio are very popular with British holidaymakers,” said an Abta 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, 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 antisocial behaviour in resort. We would encourage the Balearic authorities to reconsider this.”
Managing director of Ibiza Property Shop Martin Makepeace, who has lived in Ibiza since 1991, told TTG that while elements of the new regulations were undoubtedly beneficial and would make a difference, they overlooked other pressing issues in the Balearics such as pickpocketing and prostitution.
“Getting the balance right is the biggest challenge and anything that focuses on protecting young tourists while also trying to change the perception of much maligned resorts can only be applauded,” he said. “However, the jury is still out as to whether this is a serious initiative or just political rhetoric that won’t be enforced.”