Thomas Cook warns holidaymakers of ‘six drinks a day’ rule at Spanish all-inclusive resorts

The tour operator Thomas Cook has warned customers heading for Spain’s Balearic Islands this summer that “all inclusive” no longer means “unlimited drinks”.

In a statement to holidaymakers, the company is highlighting a law imposed by the Balearic Government, about excessive drinking in certain resorts on Mallorca and Ibiza.

“Please be advised that a decree has been issued by the Balearic Government on a new restriction for all inclusive meal option,” the Thomas Cook message reads.

“There is a maximum of six alcoholic drinks per person per day that can be served and these drinks will be provided only during lunch and dinner (three each).”

It seems the days of drinking freely by the pool throughout the afternoon are over – in the main Balearics party resorts, at least.

The rule affects all-inclusive resorts located in specific areas of Magaluf (Mallorca), Playa de Palma – S’Arenal (Mallorca) and San Antonio (Ibiza).

However, the rule is not new – the all inclusive drinking limit was introduced in January 2020 as part of a decree law to combat excess alcohol consumption, which is in place for five years. It existed in both summer 2020 and 2021, but Thomas Cook is newly informing its customers of the drinks limit.

The decree law also addressed “party boats”, pub crawls and cracking down on the practice of “balconing” – the nickname for drunken tourists attempting to climb hotel balconies.

Thomas Cook’s update follows a new tourism law passed by the Balearic region’s government in early February, aimed at attracting “quality tourism” only.

Speaking in London in February, the islands’ tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, said: “We want British tourists. We don’t want this type of tourism. British tourism is essential for our islands. We share with the British government the view that some images of British tourists are embarrassing.

“We want to put a stop to bad behaviour. From April to May this year we will increase the police presence in these areas and the number of inspectors. We will have zero tolerance for tourism excesses.”

Details of the tourism law include no new hotels being built for four years; improving tourism sustainability; the modernisation of pre-existing hotels and resorts; and an end to free bars, happy hours and drinks deal on the islands.

Travel association Abta has said it”strongly supports” the new rules and is backing the Balearic government on its plans.

A spokesman said: “Abta will continue to engage with the Balearic Islands Government, Abta Members and other parties, to encourage clear communication and exchange of information, in order to ensure holidaymakers travelling to hotels in the designated areas enjoy a positive customer experience.”

The Indonesian island of Bali has also hinted that it would like to rebrand and attract “quality tourism” only, with one official mentioning backpackers as a group the island would like to see less of.

Indonesia’s coordinating minister of maritime affairs and investment, Luhut Pandjaitan, told local press in September: “We will filter the tourists who visit. We do not want backpackers, so that Bali remains clean, and the tourists who come here are of quality.”

Although the minister later corrected his remarks, the country’s tourism and creative economy minister, Sandiaga Uno, made similar comments two months later, saying Bali was championing a “personalise, customise, localise” approach and “smaller, much, much smaller in size tourism”.

“We want to improve the number of days that they are spending in Indonesia, the length of stay. We want to make sure not only a much better-quality spending but also the impact to environment. The 17 million plus numbers put a heavy tax on our environment. We’re moving into quality and sustainability type of tourism,” said Mr Uno.

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