British tourists vow never to visit Magaluf again after booze crackdown

Strict drinking rules were first brought in to Spain’s Balearic Islands three years ago and they hit the party hot-spots of San Antonio in Ibiza and Magaluf in Mallorca hard.

Originally scheduled to cover the entire Spanish islands they were aimed at “stopping bad behaviour”. 

Announcing the measures, Balearic Islands tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, said British tourism was “essential” but the islands shared the view of the British government that “some images of British tourists are embarrassing” and strict legislation had to follow.

Four years on, hospitality owners and tourists are attempting to adapt to the strict rules. Some hoteliers “welcome” them and are happy to adapt business models to the new drinking and music crackdown. For tourists who like to party, however, they claim there’s “zero attraction” in visiting.

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Sarah Stewart, 45, from Holywood in Northern Ireland, has been holidaying in Magaluf for 22 years with a group of travellers now aged between 40 and 70. As regular visitors, they have enjoyed the lively atmosphere and the buzz of the island for decades. She said they have “never been so disappointed” following their most recent holiday.

Ms Stewart said: “I’m not sure we’ll return. To be frank, there is zero attraction. The beaches, bars and restaurants are empty. There’s no music, no atmosphere and the regulations are ridiculous.”

She added: “As a middle-aged, well-educated crowd, we just find no attraction anymore. There is no music or atmosphere and places are empty.”

In restricted zones, promoting the excessive consumption of alcohol is banned. Gone are the open bars, pub crawls, drinks deals and happy hours. There is also a limit on when alcoholic drinks are sold in local shops, with restrictions in place between 9.30pm and 8am. For hotels offering an all-inclusive board, there is also a maximum limit of six daily alcoholic drinks per person.

Officers from both the local police force and the heavily armed Guardia Civil are regularly patrolling these areas with a “zero tolerance for tourism excesses”.

The enforcement hasn’t stopped new hoteliers from opening up sites in Magaluf. Cook’s Club, Calvia Beach opened in May 2023 in the Calvia area of Magaluf. The hotel’s slogan is a “free-spirited hotel near the heart of the action”.

Susana Carrillo, CEO of Globales, which owns Cook’s Club, Calvia Beach, said despite only opening last month, expectations are positive for summer 2023.

She said: “As a new hotel in the area, we are expecting a busy first season, and we firmly believe in the success of our new project. Whilst there have been some restrictions and certain measures put into place by local authorities, these will improve the quality of tourism and promote a healthier, safer and more sustainable environment for our visitors and neighbours.”

Ms Carrillo described numerous efforts that had been carried out over the past few years by private and public entities to change the image of the local area and stated the hotel group aims to be part of a “positive change”.

She added: “These new rules and standards have not been a problem for us, and we are receiving a different type of guest who is looking for a different kind of holiday and is more conscious of the style of tourism that they are choosing to take part in.”

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According to the local government, the recovery of tourism following the pandemic has been remarkable.

In 2022, the Balearics attracted more than 16.4 million tourists, similar to levels in 2019.

The founder of holiday travel company Party Hard Travel believes the image and reputation Magaluf once had of a “lad-culture” is now in the past with the island “upping its game” as a travel destination.

Nathan Cable, said: “There’s been a concerted effort to move away from the lad-culture reputation that Magaluf had in the past, and that reflects what young people want from a holiday now. They’re looking for a VIP experience, from where they stay to the events they attend.”

Mr Cable believes the island is attracting more big DJ names than it did previously. He added: “There is definitely an Ibiza vibe to Magaluf now. It’s growing up as a destination for sure!”

It is yet to be seen if the recent change of government in the Balearics and the change of administration at the Council of Mallorca have ramifications for future tourism policies, such as the tourist tax. has contacted the Balearic Islands Government for comment.

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