British tourists love drunken debauchery
British tourists are quickly becoming known as problem travelers, according to a lengthy feature in today's New York Times. Apparently they've gained a reputation for drunken tomfoolery at major resorts around Europe, and many resort owners are fed up.
Some blame traveling packages that use cheap booze and uncouth behaviour as selling points. Others in the article put the blame on a certain British 'emotional discomfort.'
I was somewhat shocked to see this piece in the New York Times. It's basically a lengthy dis at an entire group of people. Could they have gotten away with the same type of generalization for any other group--Chinese tourists, say, or Germans?
In any case, don't sit next to a soused British tourist on lengthy train rides, apparently--you don't know what will come up.
They are the ones, the locals say, who are carousing, brawling and getting violently sick. They are the ones crowding into health clinics seeking morning-after pills and help for sexually transmitted diseases. They are the ones who seem to have one vacation plan: drinking themselves into oblivion.
“They scream, they sing, they fall down, they take their clothes off, they cross-dress, they vomit,” Malia’s mayor, Konstantinos Lagoudakis, said in an interview. “It is only the British people — not the Germans or the French.”
Malia is the latest and currently most notorious in a long list of European resorts full of young British tourists on packaged tours offering cheap alcohol and a license to behave badly. In Magaluf and Ibiza, Spain; in Ayia Napa, Cyprus; and in the Greek resorts of Faliraki, Kavos and Laganas as well as Malia, the story is the same: They come, they drink, they wreak havoc.
“The government of Britain has to do something,” Mr. Lagoudakis said. “These people are giving a bad name to their country.”
They are also hurting themselves in the process. A recent report published by the British Foreign Office, “British Behavior Abroad,” noted that in a 12-month period in 2006 and 2007, 602 Britons were hospitalized and 28 raped in Greece, and that 1,591 died in Spain and 2,032 were arrested there.
The report did not distinguish between medical cases and arrests associated with drunkenness and those that had nothing to do with it. But it did say that “many arrests are due to behavior caused by excessive drinking.”
So it would seem. Reports of scandalous incidents rumble on regularly here and elsewhere, helping to cement Britain’s reputation as the largest exporter of inebriated hooligans in Europe.
The tourists confessed to drinking a lot. One 21-year-old man from Essex, for instance, said that his consumption the night before had been five beers; six specialty drinks combined with Baileys, tequila, absinthe, ouzo, vodka, gin and orange juice; five vodka and lime drinks; and then five cans of Stella Artois, all of which, he said, emboldened him to pick up a woman to spend the night with. But they said that the lurid stories are media exaggerations.
Local officials say the blame lies not just with the tourists themselves, but also with the operators of package tours promising drinking-and-partying vacations, and clubs offering industrial-strength alcohol at rock-bottom prices. For about $50 in Malia, tourists can go on unlimited-drinking pub crawls.
“British tour operators present them with these packages that promise a wild holiday in Malia,” said Brig. Fotis Georgopoulos, the police chief of Iraklion, which takes in Malia. “This predisposes them. They are automatically put into a wild and lawless mind-set that is beyond them.”
David Familton, a Briton who works in a club here, said that it was a question of emotional comfort. “It’s because of British culture — no one can relax, so they become inebriated to be the people they want to be,” he said.