BALEARIC Island authorities believe they will not be able to put drink limitations in place in popular resort areas in time for this summer, but says a major clampdown operation on drunken and disorderly behaviour will be in force by next season.
The General Law of Tourism needs to be amended to allow the regional government to place upper limits on alcohol consumption, but is unlikely to happen before May or June when the first of the young British revellers begin to descend on beach destinations such as Magaluf.
Changing the law means allowing a period of time for anyone who feels they may be affected to appeal or propose alterations – in the main, this is likely to include bar owners and tour operators.
The town hall of Calvià – an inland municipality which owns beach neighbourhoods including Magaluf and Costa de la Calma – is strongly in favour of forcing hotels and other all-inclusive resorts to keep tabs on and restrict the flow of alcohol in terms of quantity and times of day – including at meals served on the premises.
Other councils in Mallorca, including those of Cala Millor and Playa de Muro, are against restricting drink availability, but the regional tourism authorities point out that these destinations do not suffer from the same drunken debauchery that has long tainted the reputation of Magaluf, and other resort areas in the islands such as San Antonio in Ibiza.
Traders' associations have always blamed the all-inclusive trend for lowering the town on the Punta Ballena strip in Magaluf, since revellers can tank up at their accommodation without spending any extra before they even hit the bars and nightclubs.
They want to see the limitations put in place straight away, but lack of consensus across the islands means this is likely to be impossible before summer 2017.
One trade association says last year's law banning 'drinking excursions', such as organised pub-crawls, and other anti-social behaviour including drinking in the street, came in too late as the tourism season had already started, making it difficult to enforce.