Popular vacation islands in Spain crack down on partying

CNNSpain’s Balearic Islands are further cracking down on public drinking and party boats as part of modifications to a 2020 decree that addressed “excess tourism.”

The new rules ban drinking in the streets in key tourist areas on the islands of Ibiza and Mallorca, with an exception for terraces and other licensed areas. Penalties for violations will range from €500 to €1,500 ($540-$1,615).

Party boats that sell alcohol on board will also be prohibited to be within one nautical mile of the areas included in the decree. Boarding or disembarking passengers will also be prohibited in the affected areas.

While the new measures are aimed at further curbing disruptive behavior, the government has softened the language around its original 2020 decree against “excess tourism” in favor of the revised term “responsible tourism.” The update acknowledges that the original wording was counter to the islands’ main industry, noting that “tourism represents more than 45% of the community’s GDP.”

The islands have long been nightlife hubs for young travelers and international celebrities.

The original 22-article decree introduced in 2020 was sparked by media reports of “uncivil behavior in certain tourist areas” of Mallorca and Ibiza, attributed in large part to alcohol consumption. That behavior had damaged the image of the destinations and given rise to a nightlife scene that diminished the areas for residents.

“Year after year news has appeared related to uncivil behavior by young tourists that has caused deep concern among the rest of the citizens, in the hotel sector and in the administrations involved,” the decree said, noting that serious injuries and deaths have occurred.

The decree outlined measures for tourist accommodations, the sale and advertising of alcoholic beverages, sanctions and other measures to curb dangerous or disruptive behavior.

The newly modified Responsible Tourism Decree allocates 16 million euros (about $17.2 million) from a sustainable tourism tax to help the affected areas finance projects to encourage responsible tourism.

In April, locals in Spain’s Canary Islands mobilized in protest against excessive tourism, blaming visitors for pricing them out of their homes and causing environmental damage as a result of tourist numbers leaping from 11.5 million annually to 16 million over the past decade.