THE Balearic Minister for Tourism, Employment and Finance, Iago Negueruela, today unveiled the most radical and bravest new law yet, to eradicate booze and anti-social tourism in Magalluf, the Playa de Palma and the West End area of Sant Antoni in Ibiza yesterday morning.
Negueruela made it clear last year when he took office that he would be taking drastic action to crackdown on and regulate anti-social tourism and yesterday, after weeks of negotiations with the hoteliers, resident association, bars, clubs and restaurants and all sectors of the tourist industry in the three key black spot areas, he unveiled the new law which will come in to effect as of next week.
Quite simply, the Balearic government and the tourist industry at large, has had enough of all the bad press the three resorts continue to generate every summer, not to mention the discomfort anti-social behaviour and booze tourism creates for local residents and holiday makers who want to relax and enjoy the delights of Majorca in a civil fashion, in particular families.
Negueruela said today that the steps which are being taken by the Balearic government are the first of their kind in Europe and are aimed at repairing the damage which has been done to the images of Ibiza and Majorca by the three resorts.
“What has been going on has got to stop and we intend to do just that with this new law. There is so much more to both Majorca and Ibiza than booze tourism.
“We want to be re-establish and shore up our position as one of the leading holiday destinations in the Mediterranean and continue to lead the market by example. Millions of public and private money has been invested in the infrastructure of the resorts and the quality of the hotels over the past few years and we don’t want that to go to waste. We want to create a sustainable tourist industry, especially in the conflictive resorts and we want to continue investing in providing quality tourism,” the Minister explained.
And, based on the new laws, neither Negueruela not the government are messing about.
In accordance with the new rules and regulations, anyone caught jumping from balconies, climbing from one to another or generally posing a risk on a balcony will be fined and could also face immediate expulsion from their accommodation. Hotels failing to comply could also be penalised.
But the biggest bombshell is the new control of alcoholic drinks in all inclusive hotels.
Guests will be limited to a total of six included alcoholic drinks per day. When pushed on this by the Bulletin, Negueruela explained that guests will be entitled to three drinks with lunch and three with their evening meal.
All day free bars will become a thing of the past, as will the “help yourself” alcohol dispensers in hotel bars and restaurants and, again, failure to comply, with result in fines.
Supermarkets which sell alcohol during the day, will have to either close or prohibit the sale of alcohol at 21.30 every evening.
Bars are no longer allowed to offer happy hours or other special deals such as two or three drinks for the price of one.
What is more, strict controls on pricing will be carried out by a new team of inspectors. Pub crawls are banned as are any other form of activities which could encourage the excessive consumption of alcohol and lead to anti-social behaviour.
Tickets touts will have to be taken off the streets, this is also part of the minister’s attempt to protect women, young girls, from being abused in the work place.
The sale of alcohol to minors is also prohibited and the failure to comply with any of the new rules and regulations can result in record fines of 600,000 euros and the closure of an establishment for a maximum of three years - during which time the lease holder will not be allowed to put the lease up for sale.
What is more, bars caught breaking the law twice during a period of six months will also face potential fines and closure.
No more party boat licenses are going to be approved, that is in fact and island-wide directive, and those which do hold permits will have to make sure that they fully comply with all the requisites ahead of the start of the season.
Hotels will no longer be allowed to hire out rooms by the hour to discourage people from simply buying a return air ticket for a weekend and coming to the Balearics for a massive party with no interest at all in the islands or intention of exploring their destination.
The new law will remain in place for at least the next five years and should any other municipality wish to sign up to the new directive, Negueruela said yesterday that he is not ruling out the law being introduced in other resorts and municipalities.
He said that he has held in-depth talks with the municipalities immediately effected, such as Calvia and Llucmajor, and they are 100 percent on board with the Local Police and other bodies fully up to speed with the new law and what their tasks are going to be this season.
Press releases outlining the new measures were sent to the British and German media yesterday and further steps will be taken to inform both markets of the new legislation ahead of the start of the new holiday season.
New Balearic law includes:
· Six alcoholic drinks (unspecified) per day on all inclusive packages.
· Limits on shops selling alcoholic drinks in the resorts.
· The end of Happy Hour and other activities which encourage alleged excessive drinking.
· Two strikes and you are closed, for bars breaking the law on the sale of alcohol, maximum fine of 600,000 euros and closure for three years.
· Crackdown on balconying.
· Moves to ban pub crawls and PRs encouraging excessive drinking.
· Restriction on party boats.
· Crackdown on under age drinking.
· Hotel rooms can no longer be hired out on an hourly basis.