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Monday, August 31, 1998 Published at 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK


Ibiza Brits: The anti-social minority

Ibiza: "Permissive atmosphere"

The UK Vice-Consul to Ibiza who resigned over the behaviour of what he termed British "degenerates" holidaying on the island has been both criticised and commended for his view of Britons abroad.

Amnesia resident DJ, Jason Bye: Ibiza "not a problem resort"
Ibiza night club operators confirmed that British tourists on the island generally deserved the criticism levelled by Michael Birkett, while a career diplomat defended the British abroad, saying they were well-liked and good for the local economy.

Ibiza is known as the "dance capital of Europe" and receives 450,000 British tourists a year, plus an estimated 200,000 ecstacy tablets smuggled in by gangs from Liverpool and Manchester during the three-month summer season.

[ image: Britons flock to Ibiza on cheap package tours]
Britons flock to Ibiza on cheap package tours
Manager of Ibiza's Amnesia nightclub in San Antonio, David Daffalepa, partly blames what he perceives as an increase in anti-social behaviour on cheaper package holidays.

"Since about three years ago, air tour companies have given cheaper and cheaper prices, so the quality of the people coming to Ibiza has gone down," he told News Online.

Ibiza was an exclusive "jet-set" location in the 1960s, but in the wake of a documentary screened last year, which featured two girls who claimed to have slept with more than 40 men in a fortnight, it has become synonymous with heavy drinking and promiscuity.

Advertising copy for popular package holiday company Club 18-30 runs: "Danceathon, drinkathon, bronzathon, partyathon...don't do Ibiza unless you can do extreme to the moon and all the way back."

English life 'restrictive'

Mr Daffalepa also attributes the annual catalogue of drug-overdoses, traffic accidents and arrests to Ibiza's "permissive atmosphere".

"In England, life is more restrictive. The rules of behaviour in Ibiza are so relaxed and they are not used to it.

[ image: Birkett:
Birkett: "Not all British tourists are bad."
"But the crazy thing is, we see them all doing that bad stuff and then they go out and stand in a polite queue for taxis, which Spanish people never do."

The bar manager at San Antonio's Privilege, Aurora Ruiz, was more damning.

"Inside the disco they behave, but outside they are animals.

"They spend the night drinking in their apartments or in the street, then they get involved in fights. It's bad," she said.

Spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents, Keith Betton, said: "If we're talking about acts that get the police involved, then it's groups of young men in their late-teens or early twenties who travel independently and may even get a cheap flight and try and find accomodation when they arrive.

"It's not your Club 18-30s, who can get a bit rowdy, but are generally well-supervised and move in organised groups.

"They could be any socio-economic group, although it's probably safe to say they're not As and Bs. They probably go somewhere else to do it."

Boost to the economy

Former ambassador Sir Christopher Mallaby: British "popular" abroad
Former ambassador to France and Germany, Sir Christopher Mallaby, maintains that, in his experience, British tourists are "popular" abroad.

"They go there and they spend money locally... and the locals know that, in areas which are in difficulty because of declining agriculture, tourism is the future.

"The bulk of British tourism - the overwhelming majority - is families who go to France, say, and go back every year, and are seen locally as a popular injection of activity in the local economy," he said.

Sir Christopher said that the only major problems that he had dealt with were football-related.

When asked if he had ever considered resigning over the behaviour of British tourists, he said: "Not for one split second."

Michael Birkett, who was appointed locally to the position of Vice-Consul to Ibiza after serving as an accountant in the British consulate in Madrid, stressed that the major problem was younger tourists.

"Not all British tourists behave badly. There are a lot of families who come here and enjoy themselves," he said.

Mr Birkett leaves his post on Monday.

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31 Aug 98 | UK
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