The Balearic Minister for Tourism, Employment and the Economic Model, Iago Negueruela. | Archives


The Balearic Minister for Tourism, Employment and the Economic Model, Iago Negueruela, made it clear to the Bulletin this week that there is “no going back” on the Law of Excesses, which he instigated and truly came into effect last year to bring an end to alcohol-fuelled tourism and anti-social behaviour in the blackspot resorts of Magalluf, Playa de Palma and Arenal (Llucmajor) in Mallorca and Sant Antoni in Ibiza.

“It came into force last year as we were emerging from the pandemic. Many resorts and businesses were in fact still closed because of Covid when the new law was enforced, so to a certain extent it was rather difficult to gauge how effective it was initially. That said, once the resorts, hotels, bars, restaurants and the complementary offer did reopen, we were very satisfied with the response and results.

“We had been working very hard and closely with the British government, with which we have a very good relationship, and the tourist industry in general on the new law and the feedback was very positive. We got a good response to what we intended to do in the Balearics to create law and order in key resorts, and now we are entering a full year of the implementation of the law.

“Over the course of last season, the local tourism industry got to understand what the aim of the new law was and that it is key to the long-term plan to establish the whole of Mallorca as a top-quality holiday destination for everyone who wishes to come to the Balearics.

“The government believes that the law is essential in cracking down on and rooting out alcohol-orientated tourism and its negative consequences, not only for resorts but also for individuals and the local community and residents.

“We’ve put an end to bars and clubs offering cheap drinks, happy hours, two-for-ones and other incentives to encourage people to drink as much as possible in a very short period of time.

“The sale of alcohol has also been restricted along with the consumption of alcoholic drinks in all-inclusive hotels while party boats and pub crawls have also been stamped on.

“Quite simply these are not the kind of resorts we want in the Balearics and it is not the kind of tourism which other holidaymakers wish to be surrounded by.

“And there is no going back. The law is here to stay and will be strictly enforced this year.

“Hoteliers, for example, have already seen the benefits of quality tourism, especially financially. I think we’ve got to stop talking about tourist numbers - the two main issues are quality and profit. For example, if a hotel has an occupancy rate of 85 per cent but has managed to maintain its prices, then it’s more profitable and can therefore provide a better quality of service. But, if the hotelier wants to be 95 per cent full but that means dropping the room rates, then is the result just as profitable? No.

“Hence why the private sector has invested a great deal of money over the past few years in upgrading and improving the hotels in Magalluf. The majority are now four and five-star establishments with excellent facilities and services and, as a result of the law, they have seen revenue increase. And that is another of our primary aims, quality as opposed to quantity.

Hoteliers do not want to have to deal with balcony accidents and clients misbehaving on balconies or in other areas of their establishments. And as a government, we certainly don’t want people falling victim to alcohol or drug-related accidents and incidents.

“The crackdown on alcohol abuse is making Mallorca a better and safer place, especially in the resorts we have targeted,” he said.

While the private sector has invested heavily in Magalluf, and that also includes bars, clubs and restaurants which have diversified and improved the quality of the services they provide, the public sector has also made a great effort to improve the overall environment and atmosphere in Magalluf.

“But it is not just Magalluf,. As I’ve said, and this year, the focus is going to be on Playa de Palma which is very popular with German Dutch tourists, for example.

The minister denied that the British are being “victimised” by the introduction of new rules against the purchase of alcohol, etc.

“When, for example, the British were not here as a result of the Covid restrictions at the start of last season, the Germans were, and we were focused on ensuring that law and order was observed in resorts such as Arenal and Playa de Palma.

“Now that the British are back, we have simply tightened up, or rather reminded key resorts of what rules and regulations were introduced last year to stamp out anti-social behaviour. Tourism of excesses (booze tourism) is not going to be tolerated.

“But we’re not singling out the British; not by any means.

“The latest restrictions are a message to everyone - Germans, Britons, Spaniards, Mallorcans, wherever they come from - that society wants people to behave like they would at home. You don’t trash where you live, so don’t come and trash Mallorca.

“On the contrary, in association with the British government and other foreign bodies, we’re looking out for the well-being of visitors to the Balearics.

“We want people to enjoy their holidays to the full in a safe environment, and the Balearics is the safest destination in the Mediterranean.

“The British market is the second largest in the Balearics, especially Mallorca, and we want them to keep on coming on holiday, but we want them to enjoy their experience on the island.

“Obviously, Magalluf has traditionally been a predominantly British resort, but we’re not pointing the finger at anyone in particular, we’re looking out for the welfare and well-being of everyone who comes on holiday.

The UK continues to be one of the major markets, and the relationship between the Balearics and the UK is “fundamental”. This has been maintained thanks, in part, to the efforts made in direct communication with the UK.

“They trust our islands, and they have proven this by being one of the markets that has recovered the most.”

In this regard, he hailed the fact that the islands have practically monopolised British tourists coming to Spain as well as Germans.

We’re extremely proud of all the wonderful things Mallorca has to offer and we want to protect and preserve this so that everyone can enjoy them in harmony and can continue to do so in the future.

“And everybody is on board which is why I cannot stress enough that the Law of Excesses is here to stay.”