For years, businesses have been crying out for regulation to limit all-inclusive hotels and therefore the harm that can be caused to these businesses.

For years, the government has listened to the cries and done absolutely nothing. In truth, there has been very little that the government could have done.

Banning all-inclusives, as an example, would have incurred the wrath of market competition overlords, tour operators and indeed tourists.

There would also have been a constitutional aspect, because there normally is in Spain. A unilateral ban in the Balearics would have been contrary to the principle of the unity of the market. The government couldn’t do it, even if it had wanted to do; which it never did.
Now, and nothing to do with the effects on businesses, the government discovers that unlimited alcohol in all-inclusives in four specific resorts has been a major contributory factor to the so-called “tourism of excesses”. Or so it believes. No one can surely deny that there are all-inclusive guests who go way over the top, as no one can also deny that there are holidaymakers who don’t stay in all-inclusives who get totally blotto. Which category is the larger? I’d go for the latter.

Finally, and by a booze backdoor, the government has found a regulatory means. True to form, the government insists it is being “pioneering”, which says a lot. Is this populist regulation for domestic consumption or is it genuinely strategic?