How Magaluf is shedding its party-town image and appealing to families

The popular holiday destination wants to cut ties with the binge drinking culture that made it famous

Helen Coffey
Tuesday 28 November 2017 17:01
Magaluf tries to shed its party-town image

Magaluf, known for its hard-drinking culture and bad behaviour of Brits abroad letting loose, is keen to distance itself from the long-held downmarket, party-town image.

And its plan to appeal more to the family market may be working. A five-year regeneration plan was launched in 2015, with Calvia Town Hall, the Palmanove-Magaluf Hotel Association and Meliá Hotels International coming together to pledge to transform the area on the popular Spanish island of Mallorca.

A combination of investment in better quality accommodation offerings and harsher fines for holidaymakers misbehaving has helped significantly change the demographic of visitors, according to the Palmanove-Magaluf Hotel Association’s summer season results for 2017.

The Hotel Association reports that some 70 per cent of guests were adult couples and families this summer – up 13.23 per cent compared to 2013. Meanwhile the young traveller demographic reportedly constituted 22 per cent, a decrease of 7 per cent compared to 2013.

Sebastián Darder, president of the Hotel Association, said: "The destination aims to continue consolidating new quality product and the new customer segmentation, which has allowed us to increase occupancy, profitability, and the social and economic sustainability of Magaluf, as well as continuing to improve the reputation of the destination among adult travellers and families.”

He added: “In Punta Ballena, a very specific street within the destination, we are also very satisfied to report that the figures for crime, drunkenness and other public order issues remain in clear descent."

The Punta Ballena strip is notorious for drunk and disorderly behaviour from inebriated tourists – however, there has been a huge crackdown on this in recent years.

"In Magaluf we have implemented a zero tolerance policy towards antisocial behaviour and crime, and the result is very clear,” said Andreu Serra, deputy mayor of Calvia and head of security. “Today we have a safer destination which is more family friendly, in spite of the increase in the number of tourists.”

In 2016, the Balearic Islands Civil Guard introduced a zero tolerance policy towards anti-social behaviour and crime, with regulations prohibiting drinking alcohol in the street and imposing minimum dress requirements in public spaces. There has also been an increase in police night patrols on Punta Ballena in high season.

Many hotels have also implemented a zero tolerance policy on bad behaviour, expelling guests when necessary. The number of guests kicked out of hotels has subsequently decreased by 20 per cent between 2016 and 2017.

Alcohol-related incidents, such as balcony jumping, have also gone down, decreasing by 82 per cent between 2015 and 2017; crime in hotels has reduced by 5 per cent since summer 2016.

However, although the area wants to dissuade one kind of holidaymaker, it has to attract another kind to take its place. The UK is Mallorca’s primary tourism market, with Britons making up 48 per cent of all visitors to Palmanove and Magaluf.

The aim is to appeal to couples and families instead of groups of youths, with better quality hotels and facilities being a key means of achieving this. Some 60 per cent of Magaluf’s hotels are now ranked as four or five-star properties, with average prices per night rising accordingly. Magaluf’s first five-star property, VIVA Zafiro hotel, has helped raise the calibre of the area’s accommodation.

Meliá Hotels International, meanwhile, has invested over €200 million in the refurbishment of its properties in the area to support the wider regeneration of Magaluf. In summer 2018 the company will launch a state-of-the-art shopping mall, offering 5000m2 of retail, food and beverage outlets and terraces in the centre of Magaluf, plus introduce a new hotel, Sol House Calvia Beach.

“My perception of the resort has changed 180 degrees,” said one British holidaymaker.

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