Irish tourists who booked all-inclusive holidays at top Spanish resorts this summer will be hit by a draconian “six drinks a day” law.
Visitors to resorts on islands such as Mallorca and Ibiza, as well as some hotels in the Balearic Islands, will only be able to have three drinks with their meals.
And there’s no way Irish visitors will be allowed to have all six drinks in one sitting.
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They will also have to pay the going rate for beer, wine and spirits if they want more than their meager three drinks in their meal allowance.
Local authorities fed up with Spanish resorts have clamped down in a bid to curb drunken tourists, mostly from the UK, wreaking havoc on the islands.
Ireland’s leading travel writer, Eoghan Corry, told the Irish Sunday Mirror that resorts had no choice due to growing drinking disorder.
He said: “It has been a rampant problem at all-inclusive resorts for many years. What has happened is that a small number come and try to get drunk.
“It tends not to be the cost that they look at, it’s the mess that can result.”
Spanish authorities first announced the new law in January, but it has surprised Irish tourists who are now arriving.
Local authorities in Spain introduced an alcohol ban earlier this year, which affects certain tourist areas in the Balearic Islands, including Palma, Ibiza and Magaluf.
The new law, which states that “alcoholic drinks will be limited to six a day”, is part of a package of measures designed to crack down on antisocial behaviour.
These are also believed to include bans on pub crawls, happy hours and two-for-one drink deals, enforced with heavy fines. It is also understood that stores in these resorts will not be allowed to sell alcohol after 9:30 pm during the Christmas season.
Eoghan Corry said some Irish tourists might be surprised by the rule, adding that all-inclusive deals could soon be a thing of the past.
He added: “It should have been better marked, but you have to remember that it is at the cheaper end of the all-inclusive business where this is. It’s not really on the premium end. All inclusive is controversial anyway because the tourist boards don’t like it as it keeps people at the resort and doesn’t get them into the local hotels and bars.
“Certainly in Europe, all-inclusive is becoming less and less of a thing.”
There have been calls for travel operators to provide tourists with more information about how their travels could be affected by the draconian laws.
Those booking all-inclusives are advised to examine the fine print and see what is actually included and what is not.
One Twitter user claimed that inclusive holidays with alcohol limits should be marketed as “half board”, calling for hotel contracts to be broken where this was not clearly stated.
Tour operator Thomas Cook recently alerted its customers to the crackdown on free booze via email.
They said: “Please note that the Balearic Government has issued a decree on a new restriction for All Inclusive dining options.
“There is a maximum of six alcoholic beverages per person per day that can be served and these beverages will be provided during lunch and dinner only.
“Please note that Magaluf, El Arenal, Playa de Palma in Mallorca and Sant Antoni in Ibiza, there is a new restriction on all inclusive”.
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