Part of the campaign's promotional poster. :: SUR
The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), via the British Embassy in Madrid, has launched a campaign to tackle the issue of “excessive holiday drinking” by British tourists in Spain.
In a statement regarding the ‘On holiday, don’t let drink do your talking’ initiative, the FCO says it is “encouraging young holidaymakers to think before and while they drink to avoid putting themselves at risk of serious harm.”
It adds: “Expats are being asked to share this important message with visiting friends and family to help ensure they spend their time enjoying their holidays, not in hospital, jail or worse.”
The campaign features slogans including “My cocktail told me it was OK to walk home alone”; “My cider told me to throw the first punch”; and “My last shot told me I could fool around on the balcony.”
Recent independent research carried out by Censuswide, the polling organisation, reveals that 51 per cent of 16-24 year olds say they are more likely to drink more on holiday than at home. One in ten claim that they have put themselves in a vulnerable situation with a stranger while drunk on holiday abroad, and more than a quarter admit that they have done something while drunk on holiday of which they were ashamed.
“Going on holiday is a great opportunity to relax and have fun with family and friends, and enjoying a drink can be part of that. We’re not telling people to stop drinking but we do want people to be aware of the consequences of drinking to excess,” explains Will Middleton, Consular Regional Director for Spain.
“Drinking can impair judgement. The effect of being hospitalised or arrested overseas goes far beyond a ruined holiday and can have a devastating impact on family and friends – financially and emotionally. So our message is have fun in the sun, but drink responsibly so you don’t put yourself at risk of harm.”
Costa del Sol perspectives
Of the FCO’s summer campaign, former Marbella bar manager, Elin Gutiérrez, comments: “The ‘Brits Abroad’ cliché is, sadly, alive and well up and down the Costa del Sol.
“It appears to be a cultural thing for the British – and in that I do include the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish, as well as the English - to go out, get drunk, and then misbehave in some way – falling over in the street, fighting, getting naked…
“Whilst other nationalities do, of course, do the same, it’s the number of Brits who do it that makes them stand out – plus the level of drunkenness.”
It is a view shared by a British-born flight attendant who works part-time for a UK-based airline but who lives in Benalmádena and who has asked not to be named. He says: “The flights to and from Spain, especially Malaga, Barcelona and Ibiza, are always full of drunk Brits. When we arrive in Spain with a plane load of bevvied-up Brits, I cringe at what other nationalities think of us.”
However, speaking out in defence of ‘merry’ British tourists is Torremolinos barman Dani López. “We have no more problems with British people than we do with the Spanish, the Dutch or Germans, for example. The vast majority are here to have a good time and there’s no problem. And also, we encourage the Brits in as they spend more than most!”