• Spain's news in English

Spain seeks to cool off sex and booze resorts

AFP · 3 Aug 2014, 10:31

Published: 03 Aug 2014 10:31 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"We came to get drunk, basically. Everyone knows Magaluf is partying big time," said Bruce Stenning, an 18-year-old from London who came to the Mediterranean island of Majorca with five friends.

"I came for the strippers," added one of his mates, James Pilkington, as he stood outside a bar on the Punta Ballena -- the heart of the resort's nightlife -- which advertised in English "the best lap dance".

Roughly 85 percent of the visitors to Magaluf come from Britain and Ireland, and little Spanish can be seen on bar flyers and billboards offering cheap drinks and theme parties.

Shops sell souvenir T-shirts with the catchphrase "On it 'till we vomit".

But the local authorities -- who would rather attract upmarket tourists -- are calling time on Magaluf, with new rules to rein in the most dangerous and hedonistic antics.

The resort made headlines around the world last month after a video showing a young woman performing oral sex on several men on the dance floor of a nightclub went viral on the Internet.

Local media reported that the nightclub was staging a contest which offered free drinks to women who performed the most fellatio in the least amount of time.

"My family were concerned about me coming here thinking that this was normal," said Sorcha Rafferty, a 19-year-old from Belfast with 13 friends.

"Magaluf has got a reputation that people come on holiday here and have sex everywhere. And it's true!" added her friend Bryony Spence, 20, at a bar offering the vodka cocktail "Sex on the Beach".

Following the scandal local authorities ordered the Playhouse nightclub where the sex-for-drinks game took place to be closed for a year.

They also slapped the nightclub and a firm that offers pub crawls, Carnage Magaluf, which organised the game, with a fine of €55,000 ($73,000).

Magaluf has many such firms where a guide takes large groups of youths from bar to bar to enjoy unlimited drinks for a flat fee, and also take part in games that mix alcohol and eroticism.

Most are organised by British businessmen, and some of them respect the law and some do not, said Montserrat Jaen, the tourism director general of the regional government of the Balearic Islands.

The Balearic Islands are fighting to end this type of "low cost" tourism which is restricted to "a few very small, concrete areas", she added.

Such resorts "are remnants and I think that in the long term they will convert" to the quality tourism that the Balearic Islands offer in many other places, she said.

Just hundreds of metres away from the Punta Ballena strip and its rowdy bars, yachts bob gently in crystal clear waters.

Calvia, the municipality Magaluf belongs to, introduced a bylaw on July 25th to regulate pub crawls which sets limits on the number of participants.

Five days later the municipality closed a second nightclub, this time for breaking the limit on the number of clients, said Joan Feliu, who is in charge of bar licensing at Calvia city hall.

In a region that is dependent on tourism -- the Balearic Islands received 13 million visitors in 2013 who spent €12 billion ($16 billion) -- local authorities traditionally only fine companies not tourists.

"People are never punished even though the law also stipulates a series of obligations for tourists," said Feliu.

Another bylaw was recently introduced banning "balconing" -- jumping from one apartment balcony to another or from a balcony down into a swimming pool.

Several youths have been killed or seriously injured in recent years due to the "balconing" craze.

Story continues below…

Hotels also kick out guests who destroy furniture or attack staff.

About 250 hotel guests were asked to leave last year for misbehaving, according to Joan Espina, the vice president of the Association of Hotels of Palmanova-Magaluf.

"This has always happened, it happens now with these kids and it happened with their parents when they came in their day," he said.

Alcohol flows all day in Magaluf, beside swimming pools in the morning, on boat cruises in the afternoon and in bars and nightclubs at night.

By dawn tourists can be seen fighting in the streets, throwing up, passing out, and in the most serious of cases, being stretchered off to hospital.

Despite everything, Sorcha and Bryony plan to return next year.

"Of course!" they said in unison when asked if they would be back.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Man rescued from bin after climbing in find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain's Socialists lift veto on Rajoy to break deadlock
The Socialists have decided to lift their veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists on Sunday voted to lift a long-standing veto that has prevented the conservatives from forming a minority government, in what should finally end a ten-month political impasse.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
jobs available