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A furious British holidaymaker has claimed that his £240 all-inclusive trip to holiday hotspot Majorca has been ruined because of Spain’s tough new binge-drinking crackdown in its Balearic Islands that limits tourists to just six free drinks a day.

Security officer Jason Walker says he was ‘angry’ and ‘upset’ after discovering that there were restrictions on his free booze voucher after landing in the Mediterranean island for a three-night birthday trip.

The 42-year-old described his astonishment at finding that the new decree limits the number of drinks on his all-inclusive holiday was limited to six – three at lunch, and three at dinner. 

The regulations, announced by the Balearic Government in January this year, also bans the sale of alcohol in shops between 9.30pm and 8am, as well as pub crawls, two-for-one drinks offers and happy hours at certain spots in Magaluf, El Arenal and Playa de Palma in Mallorca and Sant Antoni de Portmany in Ibiza. 

And advertising party boats and balcony jumping could attract a £50,000 fine, in a bid to clamp down on public drunkenness and clean up the image of resorts like Magaluf after it was rocked by scandal in 2014 when a British holidaymaker was filmed performing sex acts on 24 men.

The incident led Majorca’s top politician at the time – Jose Ramon Bauza – to dub Magaluf’s notorious party strip Punta Ballena as ‘500 metres of shame’.

‘We only found out when we checked in and only budgeted so much because thought all our food and drink would be covered. We were very upset and angry,’ Mr Walker said. 

‘We’ve come as a family of eight to celebrate my cousin’s 40th and while we have still had a good time, we have incurred extra costs as a result.

‘I understand they are trying to stem alcohol abuse and rowdy behaviour, but I think this has been done very sneakily – I was not made aware of it and didn’t know about the law.

‘We are also here as a family and all-inclusive is great for families as you don’t have to worry about budgeting for food and drink.’

British tourist Jason Walker on his all-inclusive holiday to Majorca

British tourist Jason Walker on his all-inclusive holiday to Majorca

British tourist Jason Walker on his all-inclusive holiday to Majorca 

File photo of the strip at Magaluf on the Spanish island of Majorca

File photo of the strip at Magaluf on the Spanish island of Majorca

File photo of the strip at Magaluf on the Spanish island of Majorca

The new law affects certain spots in Magaluf, El Arenal and Playa de Palma in Mallorca and Sant Antoni de Portmany in Ibiza

The new law affects certain spots in Magaluf, El Arenal and Playa de Palma in Mallorca and Sant Antoni de Portmany in Ibiza

The new law affects certain spots in Magaluf, El Arenal and Playa de Palma in Mallorca and Sant Antoni de Portmany in Ibiza

Mr Walker is now urging holidaymakers jetting off to similar Spanish resorts over the summer to check their small print or face incurring hefty drinks costs without warning

Mr Walker is now urging holidaymakers jetting off to similar Spanish resorts over the summer to check their small print or face incurring hefty drinks costs without warning

Mr Walker is now urging holidaymakers jetting off to similar Spanish resorts over the summer to check their small print or face incurring hefty drinks costs without warning

Spain’s Balearic binge-drinking crackdown explained

WHAT ARE THE NEW RULES?

The Balearic Islands have brought in new laws which limit the number of free drinks on all-inclusive meal options, and various restrictions on the purchase of alcohol.

The legislation says people on all-inclusive meal options can only have six drinks per day – three at lunch, and three at dinner. 

It also bans:

  • Happy hours;
  • Pub crawls;
  • Two-for-one-drink offers;
  • Sale of alcohol in shops between 9.30pm and 8am;
  • Advertising party boats in designated areas.  

WHERE DO THE NEW RULES APPLY?

The new restrictions apply to Magaluf, El Arenal and Playa de Palma in Mallorca and Sant Antoni de Portmany in Ibiza, after initial fears that it would cover the whole of the islands.

WHY WERE THE NEW RULES BROUGHT IN AT ALL?

The laws were touted as the first in Europe to restrict the promotion and sale of alcohol in tourist areas.

They also aim to halt the ‘cheapening’ of the Balearic Islands and attract new investors that were being put off by its rowdy image.

Council leaders have been mounting a fightback to try to clean up the image of resorts like Magaluf since it was rocked by scandal in 2014 when a British holidaymaker was filmed performing sex acts on 24 men.

The incident led Majorca’s top politician at the time – Jose Ramon Bauza – to dub Magaluf’s notorious party strip Punta Ballena as ‘500 metres of shame’.

In 2018 council chiefs upped the ante against badly-behaving tourists in Magaluf by putting up street signs warning them of heavy fines for street drinking, nakedness and fighting.

The brightly-coloured signs, which carried the banner line ‘Have fun with respect’ were mounted on lamp-posts and other visible spots in the party resort.

Thousands of British tourists flock to the islands every year, including large groups of revellers who have earned them an infamous reputation.

Most of the new restrictions came into place in 2020 but Covid means many Brits are only now becoming aware of them.

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Mr Walker is now urging UK travellers jetting off to the popular Balearic Islands to check their small print, or potentially face incurring hefty drinks costs without warning. 

Announcing the new laws in 2020, a regional government spokesman said: ‘Efforts to promote the destination, to provide it with better quality through both public and private sector investments, and position it in an increasingly competitive and global market, have been affected recently by certain uncivic behaviour.

‘Most of this type of behaviour is directly related to alcohol abuse in certain tourist areas of Majorca and Ibiza.’

Mr Walker, from Blackburn, Lancashire, said he understood the government is trying to stop yobbish drinking behaviour, but he believes the new rules need to be better advertised.

He called on travel operators to give holidaymakers more information about how their trips might be affected by the laws.

The security officer also believes that holidays where a three drink per meal rule is in place are being mislabelled and shouldn’t be branded as ‘all-inclusive’.

‘I have looked at the small print and the alcoholic drink rule is there, so I don’t think it should be sold as an all-inclusive inclusive holiday, it should be sold as half-board or something along those lines,’ he said.

‘If you are booking an all-inclusive holiday, I recommend that you look at the small print and see what is actually included and what’s not because the rules have changed.’

Council leaders have been mounting a fightback to try to clean up the image of resorts like Magaluf since it was rocked by scandal in 2014 when a British holidaymaker was filmed performing sex acts on 24 men.

The incident led Majorca’s top politician at the time – Jose Ramon Bauza – to dub Magaluf’s notorious party strip Punta Ballena as ‘500 metres of shame’.

In 2018 council chiefs upped the ante against badly-behaving tourists in Magaluf by putting up street signs warning them of heavy fines for street drinking, nakedness and fighting.

The brightly-coloured signs, which carried the banner line ‘Have fun with respect’ were mounted on lamp-posts and other visible spots in the party resort.

Thousands of British tourists flock to the islands every year, including large groups of revellers who have earned them an infamous reputation.

Most of the new restrictions came into place in 2020 but Covid means many Brits are only now becoming aware of them.

Holidaymakers writing on social media have reacted furiously to the new laws, which many feel have not been widely publicised.

One Twitter user believed that inclusive holidays with booze limits should be marketed as ‘half-board’ – and called for hotel contracts where this wasn’t clearly stated to be ripped up.

He said: ‘Brits will now be restricted to just six drinks a day, which can only be accessed alongside their lunch and dinner – offering them a mere three drinks per meal.

‘[That’s] usually referred to as ‘Half Board Plus’. It’s time to cancel the hotel contracts for All Inclusive basis.’

A spokesperson for the ABTA – The Travel Association said the rules have the potential to cause ‘confusion’ among holidaymakers.

They said: ‘ABTA strongly supports initiatives that improve the health and safety of holidaymakers, as well as the welfare of local communities.

‘Some of the measures introduced by the Balearic Islands authorities to limit anti-social behaviour have potential to cause confusion for UK holidaymakers.

In this June 10, 2015 file photo, tourists walk on the street at in Magaluf, Calvia on the Spanish Balearic island of Majorca

In this June 10, 2015 file photo, tourists walk on the street at in Magaluf, Calvia on the Spanish Balearic island of Majorca

In this June 10, 2015 file photo, tourists walk on the street at in Magaluf, Calvia on the Spanish Balearic island of Majorca

Majorca and Ibiza are two of Europe's most popular tourist destinations (stock image)

Majorca and Ibiza are two of Europe's most popular tourist destinations (stock image)

Majorca and Ibiza are two of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations (stock image) 

‘We welcome the recent clarification from the authorities, including that the restrictions will only apply to certain limited areas in Mallorca and Ibiza rather than the whole of the Balearics as originally proposed.

‘ABTA will continue to engage with the Balearic Islands Government, ABTA Members and other parties, to encourage clear communication and exchange of information, in order to ensure holidaymakers travelling to hotels in the designated areas enjoy a positive customer experience.’

Travel operator Thomas Cook recently alerted their customers to the crack down on free booze through an email.

They said: ‘Please be advised that a decree has been issued by the Balearic Government on a new restriction for All Inclusive meal option. There is a maximum of six alcoholic drinks per person per day that can be served and these drinks will be provided only during lunch and dinner ( 3 each).

‘Please be aware that Magalluf, El Arenal, Playa de Palma in Mallorca and Sant Antoni in Ibiza, there is new restriction on All Inclusive.’

A spokesperson for Love Holiday, which sold the all-inclusive holiday to Mr Walker, said: ‘We were sorry to hear that the customer was disappointed with their stay at the Aluasun Torrenova hotel. 

We appreciate any and all feedback from our customers, and constantly review our processes to offer our customers the best experience possible. 

‘Unfortunately, on this occasion, the customer did not get in touch to raise the issue. As such, we have not had the opportunity to address the query with the customer.’

Source: Daily Mail

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