Boozy Magaluf has been transformed, claims new mayor
So long, 'Shagaluf'?
A crackdown on lewd behaviour has cleaned up Magaluf in just one summer, its new socialist mayor says.
The Spanish party resort has all but eradicated the sort of binge drinking and lewd behaviour that earned it the nickname “Shagaluf”, according to Alfonso Rodriguez.
Just a year after the resort on the Balearic Island of Majorca announced a tough crackdown on loutish behaviour – and only months after the rules were enforced – Mr Rodriguez, the newly-elected Mayor of Calvia, the municipality which covers Magaluf, claims that the problem has practically gone.
The regulations introduced in June included fines of up to €3,000 for those caught drinking, urinating or getting naked in the street, new laws against “balconing” (the craze of jumping from hotel balconies), and limits on the number of bar crawls and the way in which they are run. The campaign even included the deployment of British police officers to monitor bad behaviour.
The resort’s nightlife culture came under intense scrutiny last summer when a film of an 18-year-old Northern Irish woman performing sex acts on 24 men during a pub crawl on the Punta Ballena strip went viral.
However, recent visitors have suggested that inebriation on the streets is still evident. “While new legislation has been enacted, how strictly the rules are being adhered to is questionable,” said Telegraph Travel’s Victoria Monk.
“In September, there were still people staggering around with drinks in hand and hordes of scantily clad hen and stag dos trailing their inflatable companions. Raucous Magaluf is very much still partying on,” she told the Daily Telegraph.
Yet the Mayor insists that, overall, anti-social behaviour has decreased.
“We didn’t actually forsee [the efforts to cut down on drunken behaviour] being so smooth,” said Mr Rodriguez, whose ultimate aim it is to transform Magaluf into an up-market destination.
“People are quite surprised that it worked so fast. We have improved the experience for tourists and we are now no longer in the news for bad coverage. There has been a major decrease in infractions, arrests, balconing and all kins of illegal or anti-social behaviour.”
“Pub crawling is disappearing,” he added. “The establishments have cooperated in enforcing the regulations,” he said. “There is a consensus about what needs to be done. There is evolution in the resort.”
Mr Rodriguez said that from the summer of 2014 to the summer just gone, there were 50 per cent less arrests, 66 per cent less incidents of balconing, and that the number of pub crawls breaching the rules had fallen from 14 in 2013 to just one in 2015.
He said that the resort had also seen a 2.8 per cent increase in occupancy rates, of which families and couples were up 3 per cent and under 25s were down 2.6 per cent.
Despite the introduction of fines to punish those misbehaving in the streets, especially along the popular Punta Ballena strip, Mr Rodriguez said the number of fines issued had not increased, as “the focus of policing has been on prevention and education”.
The mayor says that he wants to retain some “party tourism” in the resort but wants it to coexist with families and an increase in activities such as bike riding. He hopes that a full regeneration of Magaluf and its image will be complete in two to three years, with an increase in the number of four-star hotels and the resort attracting as much as €240 million of investment by 2017.
But Mr Rodriguez admits that if he rids Magaluf of its boozy reputation, there will be winners and losers.
“There’s always some losers. Some establishments that are not betting on improving quality, and instead on high volume, low margins and high impact,” he said.
Asked whether the lewd and drunken behaviour will move elsewhere on the island, the mayor said that Majorca, and Spain as a whole, has the same approach to such tourism, adding: “Other countries will get that business.”