Tourism leaders have even suggested that passengers shouldn’t be allowed to walk down the drinks and cigarette aisles in the duty-free shops as part of a campaign to get young people away from linking holidays with getting plastered. Dozens of travel trade representatives from both the UK and Spain met for a “no holds barred” discussion over what to do about “drunken tourism” which was described as a small issue with huge international repercussions because of the image it presented to the rest of the world. The meeting was held in Majorca which is one of the islands which is said to have suffered from “negative press” related to incidents involving drunken Brits and their bad behaviour.
A call is being made to Europe to tighten up legislation, with one police chief saying: “We have already banned smoking. People can’t light up for three hours when flying from the UK to Spain so why do they have to drink? What are we waiting for?”
Chief Inspector of the National Police José María Manso later told the Spanish press: “Alcohol should be banned on flights and at airports, the only thing you see is selling and selling more alcohol at Palma airport, it’s a shopping centre where alcohol and more alcohol are sold.”
The meeting also called for new laws to allow the security forces to intervene if situations with drunken passengers happened rather than being restrained by whether it was the jurisdiction of the Spanish or UK police which frequently led to confusion.
The security forces believe the only way forward is to ban alcohol at airports and on flights. One speaker referred to a European airline that allows children under 16 to drink on a plane while other companies restrict alcohol consumption to those aged 20 and over.
The seminar in Palma was held under the so-called Chatham House rules which allow speakers to voice their opinions without revealing their identity or facing any repercussions.
One representative of a British airport said: “The key is prevention, preventing these passengers from getting on the plane” and even drinking in establishments where alcohol is sold.”
Tourism leaders said there had to be a tough approach which would take “courage and ambition” to solve the problem which is also being blamed for balconing deaths and serious injuries.