The mayor of Palma, José Hila, and the Balearic tourism minister, Biel Barceló, visited Playa de Palma today.

In Friday’s Bulletin, we reported on a get-tough stance against drinking parties in Playa de Palma, the mayor, José Hila, insisting that the town hall would not look the other way and would be strict. He made his remarks in light of an event last weekend which led to complaints, and tomorrow another unauthorised drinking party is due to take place. The town hall has, therefore, arranged for a squad of twenty police officers to prevent it taking place.

Last weekend’s event attracted several hundred tourists and provoked a whole number of problems. Hila’s forceful stand against binge-drinking tourism has resulted in the police reinforcements being sent in: there are typically two to three patrols plus some motorbike police.

This morning, the mayor was joined by the tourism minister, Biel Barceló, when they met with residents’ associations in Playa de Palma. They both stressed that “every weapon” at their disposal would be used against organisers of such events. Binge-drinking tourism will not be tolerated. In seeking to stamp out activities that are harmful to co-existence and to the image of the islands, the minister said that there is likely to be a inter-ministerial initiative involving the tourism, consumer affairs and employment ministries. “We will act in every way we can.”

Hila noted that the local police has already reported last weekend’s event to various government ministries and to the national government’s delegation to the Balearics. He warned organisers that there will be “serious consequences” if they do not heed messages to desist in holding these events.

Barceló, meanwhile, has been in contact with the tour operator publicising holidays with the slogan of “have fun until the doctor comes”. This has now been removed.

Street drinking
The town hall’s public safety department says illegal occupation of the public way and uncivil behaviour will not be permitted. Local ordinance against the botellón street-drinking party phenomenon has been in force since February, and fines can and will be issued for flouting the bylaw, with Playa de Palma designated as a zone of “special intervention” by the police (meaning there will be action taken and fines handed out). These penalties will apply to individuals and to organisers who do not have the necessary permission.

The final version of what constitutes the special intervention zones will be ready within a week or so, and the fines that will apply can be as high as 3,000 euros for the consumption of alcohol in the public way. The local police have already acted in another of these zones, Santa Catalina, against street drinking and anti-social behaviour brought about by the so-called “tardeo”.

With the finalisation of the special intervention zone “map”, the town hall’s transport department will be responsible for putting up signage; Playa de Palma will be one such area. The full range of conditions as they apply to these zones will come into effect next month, and during June there will be a leafleting information campaign in four languages - English, German, Spanish and Catalan.