Spain’s Balearic Isles crack down on pub crawls, happy hours

MADRID (AP) — Authorities in Spain’s tourist-magnet Balearic Islands are clamping down on binge-drinking tourism in three hot spots, introducing what they claim is the first law of its kind in Europe.

The islands’ regional government based in Palma de Mallorca on Friday passed a law prohibiting the organization and promotion of pub crawls and publicity promoting of alcohol sales by means of “open bars” and “happy hours.”

It also prohibited the practice of jumping from hotel balconies into swimming pools — popularly known as “balconing” — throughout the Mediterranean islands. The practice has led to many injuries and several deaths. Those caught taking part in the activity will be obliged to leave their hotel and may face fines.

The legislation will apply to a long stretch of the capital, from Palma Beach to the S’Arenal area, as well as the Magaluf spot on Mallorca island, and the West End area of Ibiza, initially for the next five years.

Mallorca and Ibiza are two of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, and its nightclub-filled beachfront promenades are particularly popular with young people from Britain, Germany and Ireland.

The regional government said the law is a novelty in Europe and that it’s aimed at improving the quality of tourism on the islands and the wellbeing of both tourists and residents.

The regulation bans alcohol-selling machines, and shops selling alcohol must close between 2030 GMT and 0700 GMT in the areas.

It freezes new licenses for so-called “party boats” and forbids them from taking on or offloading revelers in the three areas.

The legislation envisages fines ranging from 6,000 euros ($6,660) to 600,000 euros.

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