By Humphrey Carter

MAJORCAN and Ibizan hoteliers in cooperation with the Balearic government and the tour operators intend to launch a major awareness campaign ahead of next summer's season in an attempt to bring an end to the new craze of balcony jumping which has already claimed the lives of nine young people in the Balearics this summer.

As the Bulletin reported yesterday, the novelty factor this year is that balcony jumpers are filming their antics and then posting them on YouTube, the craze has even coined its own name here in Spain, ““balconing”.”

But the hotel sector is becoming increasingly concerned about the increasing practice of either balcony jumping into swimming pools from floors as high up as three storeys or trying to get from room to room via the outside terraces.

Some steps have been taken by a number of hotels such as raising the balcony railings and, in some cases, completely encasing the balcony, But, so far this year, nine people have died, two are still in hospital, and nearly 30 have been injured - three times the figure for last summer.
The President of the Ibizan Hotel Federation, Juan Jose Riera, admitted yesterday that this phenomenon is very difficult to control “but we've got to try and do everything possible to prevent it happening,” he stressed.

Inmaculada de Benito, the President of the Majorcan Hotel Federation, said that young holiday makers have always fooled around on balconies but what is causing a great deal of concern this year is the craze of videoing the acts and posting them on the web.

Hoteliers in Ibiza and Majorca have raised the issue with the tour operators and are recommending that awareness videos be made and broadcast to holiday makers alerting them to the dangers.

The Balearic hoteliers would like any such video to have the same kind of impact of the often violent road safety adverts here in Spain. “These young people think they're heroes but they're kamikazes,” said Riera.

Although, De Benito echoed what the Balearic Interior Minister, Pilar Costa, said last week that, in comparison to the vast number of tourists of all ages and nationalities which come to the Balearics every summer the number of tragedies is minimal and accidents are always going to happen.

That said, it appears the hoteliers have had enough and want to see some form of affective measures taken over the winter so the Balearics does not suffer a repeat spate of balcony deaths next year. The hoteliers feel frustrated because they are unable to control their clients 24 hours per day. “All of our guests are informed of the hotel rules and regulations when they arrive and check in,” Riera said yesterday. “But, there are always going to be those who take no notice.”


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