We Brits love a good holiday somewhere sunny and youngsters have been flocking to various party towns for decades for their first trip without parents. Sun, sex and sea are generally the name of the game at resorts like Ibiza, Sunny Beach, Ayia Napa and, of course, Magaluf.
While some destinations hope to tempt party lovers with 80p pints and free shots others focus on wild DJ clubs and venues that stay open until 7am. However, not all party hotspots are keen to continue with their traditional methods of attracting tourists.
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Magaluf is trying to put a new, higher quality spin on all it has to offer to holidaymakers. As the region is trying to cut down on "nuisance tourism" and anti-social behaviour it also seems that the days of cheap hotels in the area are over.
Last week, Macia Blazquez, a professor of geography who specialises in tourism at the Balearic Islands University, said that hotel chains are slowly dropping cheap tourism deals in hotspots like Magaluf.
The party town – sometimes cheekily nicknamed "sh*galuf" – has long attracted young Brits. However, new laws banning "booze tourism" are changing the resort’s reputation.
With a view towards being more upmarket prices for beachfront hotels which were once about £35 a night have skyrocketed to £350 a night. There are plenty of package holidays out there that may bring down the per night price, but they'll still cost in the hundreds.
Speaking on the law changes that could be behind the increase, Macia told iNews: "There is a process of segregation, expulsion, even criminalisation of cheap tourism, calling it 'excessive tourism'." One recent law, which went through in 2020, aims to limit binge drinking.
The Balearics government has banned bar crawls, two-for-one parties, happy hours and free drinks by making it illegal for companies to promote or sell such activities to tourists. Such restrictions apply to Magaluf and Arenal de Palma in Majorca plus San Antonio in Ibiza.
In 2022, over 30 bars and clubs in the Magaluf area were served fines for breaking the rules resulting in a massive £1.5million in fines. Tourists can also be handed penalties charged to the individual for antisocial behaviour such as being rowdy on the streets or balconing (jumping from hotel balconies into the swimming pool).
Officials have also annoyed holidaymakers with a "six drinks a day" rule for all-inclusive holidays at resorts on several islands including Ibiza and Majorca. The restriction limits tourists to three alcoholic drinks at lunch and dinner with none served outside of this time unless you pay extra.
Officials, including José Luis Zoreda, vice president of the Spanish tourism lobby Exceltur, claim that business owners want to bring in a "different kind of tourist". This includes those who can spend more in the area rather than bargain hunters wanting cheap all-inclusive.
Macia noted that this change would affect "British tourists, Germans and Spaniards." He added: "It is the end of cheap tourism.
"(People are asking) how is tourism contributing to climate change? There are rising energy costs. There is a social polarisation. It is a privilege to travel.
"What we are seeing from the change on Magaluf beachfront is the end of Magaluf as it was. They want it to be a luxury destination because of the prices."
Millions of tourists visit the Balearic Islands – which includes Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera – each year. Around 23% of these are British.
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