In an attempt to avoid more and more tourists from getting drunk, Mallorca has banned drinking alcohol from buckets on the beach. Local police have started patrolling Playa de Palma and are issuing on-the-spot fines for drinking alcohol. This comes as British youths have been visiting Mallorca beaches with their buckets of alcohol, cheap drink and straws. However, Brits come in third place as the worst offenders, following Australians and Germans respectively.
The trend of bring a bucket of booze and straws to the beach was invented some two decades ago by heavy drinking German travellers. Holidaymakers were also given cocktails of sangria and spirits in plastic or metal buckets in local bars groups. The concept was adopted by many other nationalities of tourists and has continued. Now such travellers are referred to as “bucketheads” due to their fondness for drinking sangria, vodka or rum from buckets.
Playa de Palma says it’s had enough of being abused by loud drunken behaviour. The city council’s Guillermo Navarro has described the tourists’ antics as drunken men staggering, collapsing, rolling their eyes and then vomiting. He adds that they will lie there, and it’s not good behaviour for kids to see.
The local council says that drunk tourists are menaces. Not only is their behaviour bad, but they leave rubbish, beer bottles and cigarette buds lying in the sand. Some of them even take these items out to sea, which is a hazard for others in the water. Now Mallorca is trying to attract better holidaymakers to resorts in Playa de Palma, Magaluf and Arenal, and they won’t tolerate bad behaviour anymore. Posters have been put up on beaches warning that buckets of alcohol are banned. The council is also handing out big fines to tourists who don’t comply with the rules. Navarros says they will get a warning first, and then a fine between €50 and €500. People who continue to violate the rules can be fined as much as €500, while remorseless offenders could end up with a €1,800 fine.
However, there’s been a commotion on the Palma de Mallorca beach from holidaymakers who don’t think the police will be able to hold their ground and impose fines to so many offenders. Some of the drinking tourists say they won’t pay the fines handed to them.
In one incident, six police officers with pistols in their holsters made their way onto the beach and surrounded a group of male youths. After a brief stand-off, the tourists were marched off the beach with their hands behind their backs and given fines. Hundreds of others on the beach watched the incident, then the party continued. One officer explained that the group was drinking bottles of beer and leaving them in the sand or taking them into the water – which isn’t a good idea.
The local council’s move could be a gamble, as the city developed its modern economy on a tolerance for excessive behaviour and on package tours. The financial crisis spreading across Spain has underlined how vital tourism is to the economic well-being of Mallorca. The council tourism office’s Neus Perona says that the new rules are meant to make Playa de Palma more peaceful.
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