ZB

Violent pickpockets and prostitutes target tourists returning to Europe hot spot

Author
Sarah Pollok, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 24 May 2022, 9:00am
Punta Ballena strip: Mallorca saw 100,000 British customers a year in the 1990s. Photo / David Ramos, Getty Images
Punta Ballena strip: Mallorca saw 100,000 British customers a year in the 1990s. Photo / David Ramos, Getty Images

Violent pickpockets and prostitutes target tourists returning to Europe hot spot

Author
Sarah Pollok, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 24 May 2022, 9:00am

Travellers heading to Magaluf in Spain have been warned they could be targeted by drug dealers, violent pickpockets and prostitutes in the party city.

Located on the island of Majorca, a wild, alcohol-fuelled visit to the major resort has long been a rite of passage for millions of teenagers from Britain, France and Switzerland.

Like many destinations flooded by tourists, the pandemic provided a pause in tourism, during which the Baleric government attempted to change the destination's reputation for partying.

However, as restrictions eased and tourists return, locals say "all the old problems" have returned too. Some say hundreds of drug sales can be seen in broad daylight in the city.

Several robberies have also been reported, some of which turned violent against the police.

Punta Ballena strip has attracted the most trouble over the years, likely owing to the concentration of clubs and bars. Eventually, trouble caused the government to enforce tough bans to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and unruly behaviour.

Pub crawls, two for one alcohol deals and drinking in the street has been banned, while party boats and all-inclusive hotels now have limits on how much alcohol they can provide.

According to Spanish news website Ultimahora.es, these measures have not been enough to stop bad behaviour this year.

"A new season begins loaded with large doses of indifference, alcohol, drugs, prostitution, robbery and violence," the report begins.

"The massive arrival of tourists to Punta Ballena has brought with it the appearance of traffickers and prostitutes, hunting drunk tourists. The controversial Magaluf street is already teeming with Nigerian and Romanian clans."

Currently, SafeTravel advises Kiwis travelling to Spain to "Exercise increased caution".

This is one alert two of a four-level rating, assigned due to "the ongoing threat of terrorism".

Those who do visit are advised to "maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times" as professional thieves often operate in popular tourist spots.