Sankha Guha: Man About World

Beware. Club Rep is coming this way

I have not been to Faliraki. En route to the airport I saw it once from the main road running down the spine of Rhodes. By night the aureola of neon rising from the coast acted as part lure and part early warning to anyone who strayed within reach. Even from a distance, I recognised the territory. Anyone who has been to the Med has been to Faliraki.

I have not been to Faliraki. En route to the airport I saw it once from the main road running down the spine of Rhodes. By night the aureola of neon rising from the coast acted as part lure and part early warning to anyone who strayed within reach. Even from a distance, I recognised the territory. Anyone who has been to the Med has been to Faliraki.

On the neighbouring island of Kos it is called Kardamena - another shanty Britannia in the land of Homer. Kardamena is a concentration camp of bars, each blaring its own brand of nerve-jangling, key-clashing, genre-defying nasty pop. For Brit youth the mix of alcohol, white noise and anything-goes-away-from-home is too much and never enough. For the truly lame, the halt and the homesick other sadder dens offer Rodney and Delboy's greatest hits, or worse, endless video loops of Roy Chubby Brown playing to an audience of Chubby Brown lookalikes.

Faliraki has all this and more. We know it from ITV's "ob doc" (observational documentary) series which gave centre stage to the demonic MCs of holiday debauchery - Club Reps. It was a warts 'n' more warts look at their chosen vocation: making vacations for the idiot tendency. Amid a sea of football strips, micro skirts and high-heeled strappies, the reps were seen egging on their clients to ever greater heights of alcohol-induced yobbery and sexual humiliation. That's ratings. That's entertainment.

And that is bookings - or so the tour operators, hoteliers and bar owners who were persuaded to take part must have calculated. Their dreams have turned to dust. Club 18-30 is reporting a 70 per cent drop in bookings, down catastrophically from 2000 to only 300 so far this year. First Choice has pulled out of Faliraki altogether. Sleazy as it was, the TV show cannot be held entirely responsible; the killing of a 17-year-old in a bar fight last August did little to help Faliraki's image. But the incident is unlikely to have generated the furore it did without the TV show having primed the public mood. Whatever the cause, bookings have fallen through the floor.

So have our young hedonists come to the overdue realisation that Faliraki rhymes with tacky? Have we called time on the mass pub crawls, binge boozing and its attendant army of brawling lads? Are we turned off by the slurred bragging of girls who claim to have slept with 15 men in a fortnight? Are we now in the market for a slightly more sophisticated week in the sun?

Alas, no. The precise opposite is true. Local police have responded to the bad press last year by clamping down on drunkenness, public sex and loutish excess. Faliraki has a brand new police station with officers trained by the Lancashire constabulary. Presumably the holiday hooligans will now be facing standards of public behaviour closer to those which apply back home. And that's no fun.

So they're off to the other fleshpots of the Mediterranean, and the Canaries. The unrepentant Club Reps series is moving on to Gran Canaria to film in the appropriately named Playa del Ingles. The Foreign Office is warning that this alone may be enough to attract an invasion of ex-Faliraki hardcore. Other places being touted as this summer's no-holds-barred destinations include Malia in Crete, Kavos in Corfu, good old Ayia Napa in Cyprus and yes, Kardamena which also hopes to benefit from the Faliraki diaspora. Book now if you are gagging for it. Avoid if you feel a surge of nausea coming on.

I is for Immobile

Making decisions about where not to go has never been easier. Providing a corrective to the eager gush of brochure-speak, doomsayers from insurance companies, consultants to the travel industry and any number of government and NGO websites will between them give paranoid travellers all the wherewithal they need to stay at home.

The Foreign Office website ( www.fco.gov.uk) is an essential first destination for anyone not really wishing to go anywhere. Their remit is security - and a quick trawl through the website will not only put your holiday plans for Iraq on hold, but will also make you think carefully about Indonesia, Iran, Israel, India - most countries, in fact, which begin with I. Even Iceland, which has no history of terrorism, carries the most spurious warning: "Iceland shares with the rest of the world a risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks".

If it is health you want to worry about try the World Health Organisation site (www.who.int). Here you find the latest on dengue fever in Indonesia, yellow fever in Burkina Faso and Sars in China. If those countries and epidemics seem a touch remote, how about the more familiar scourge of the tummy bug? Last week a consultant hired by a large holiday company spilled the beans (to coin a phrase) to The Mail on Sunday. Bottom of the pops (so to speak) was the Dominican Republic with 38 per cent reporting dodgy digestion, followed by Egypt (35 per cent), Tunisia and Cuba (28 per cent) and Mexico (26 per cent).

With the safe-to-visit world shrinking at an alarming rate we probably don't need to know that US insurance broker Aon has produced a world map detailing "Risks in Global Film Making". Targeted at Hollywood film-makers planning location shoots, the information, the company says, holds good for most business travellers. Their list of riskiest countries by categories includes Congo, Laos and Thailand (disease), Turkmenistan, Solomon Islands and Myanmar (medical care), Brazil, Colombia and Georgia (crime), Colombia again, Philippines and Mexico (kidnapping and ransom), Colombia yet again, Russia and, no surprise, Nigeria (corruption and organised crime).

The good news is from Morocco, which has seen its rating for kidnap and ransom lowered. And yeah - Greenland is looking excellent.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Arts and Entertainment
tv

First full-length look is finally here

Arts and Entertainment
Stanley Tucci as DCI Eugene Morton, Sophie Grabol as Hildur Odegard and Christopher Eccleston as Professor Charlie Stoddart in 'Fortitude'
tvGrace Dent: Still, it's compelling and cinematically sublime
News
news

Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck

Arts and Entertainment
EastEnders actor Danny Dyer has been rejected from Game of Thrones three times
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
Tax now accounts for ‘nearly 80%’ of the price of a bottle of whisky
news

Arts and Entertainment
Peppa Pig wearing her golden boots
film

"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star

Life and Style
tech

Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses

Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee