11 April 2024

Holiday Hotspots In Portugal, Spain, Italy And Greece Are Introducing New Laws To Curb Tourist Misconduct

The Algarve in Portugal has always been a popular destination. According to the Office of National Statistics British nationals make up the largest section of tourists with over one million British visitors each year.
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The sun-soaked beaches, rich historical sites, and vibrant cultures draws millions of tourists to Europe each year but local communities grapple with the negative impact of unruly tourist behaviour that impacts on their lifestyles and culture. Countries such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece have initiated significant legal reforms to curb undesirable conduct and preserve the integrity of destinations.

The Algarve in Portugal has always been a popular destination. According to the Office of National Statistics British nationals make up the largest section of tourists with over one million British visitors each year. Portugal has now taken steps to protect its culture, introducing restrictions at popular beaches to limit a range of behaviours including loud music and ball games with fines between €200-€36,000 to protect the local residents' quality of life. There are new rules forcing limits to the opening hours of bars, nightclubs and cafes and preventing large crowds of tourists gathering outside. Further attempts to eliminate public intoxication and vandalism as well as protecting local customs by the authorities is to impose stricter regulations related to short-term rentals in the hope that the influx of mass tourism is mitigated.

Similarly, Spain is also attempting to reduce such issues as drunkenness in public, excessive noise and public nudity, particularly in Barcelona and Ibiza, two of the most popular destinations. Also, illegal drug use will be dealt with in a far more robust manner. The Spanish authorities also wish to ensure that tourists have sufficient funds to support themselves during their time in Spain including having emergency money should it be necessary. It is suggested that each person has €100 per day and €900 for a potential emergency.

Foreign tourists must also remember that it is against the law to argue with the police in Spain, regardless of whether an individual is contravening the new laws. The strong desire to protect both the culture and the local population has resulted in Malaga introducing fines for appearing in public wearing just underwear or carrying erotic items, such as inflatable dolls, through the streets.

Dress codes for tourists in Mallorca now include a prohibition on strapless tops or swimwear other than on the beach and soccer strips. Many coastal areas now prohibit smoking on the beach. Also noise impacts on the local communities and talking too loudly, playing loud music, even the noise created by moving furniture across patios late in the night may attract a fine of up to €30,000.

Stricter regulations are now in place related to nightlife establishments and hotels. One of the most disruptive and problematic behaviours is drunkenness and the authorities have acted to limit the drinks in all-inclusive hotels to six drinks per day, three with lunch and three with dinner. Additional drinks must be paid for. Steep fines will be issued if breaches are discovered.

Sergio Filonenko Kibu, an associate, commented "the tourist industry is an important sector to many European countries but unfortunately mass tourism brings complex challenges which have resulted in legal reforms being introduced by several countries to address the negative impact of irresponsible behaviour and also to safeguard the cultural and natural heritage that makes these destinations so unique." Sergio also pointed out "unruly unacceptable behaviour is now far more likely to result in arrest and a heavy fine, which can have serious implications for an individual, particularly if the offence is drug related. Tourists should be warned that the new laws related to rowdy behaviour will be robustly implemented and far more moderate behaviour is called for to avoid arrest."

Countries such as Greece and Italy with iconic landmarks such as the Colosseum and the Parthenon, face the dual challenge of preserving their unique heritage while accommodating millions of visitors each year. Concerns over the degradation of historical sites and the disruption of local communities have prompted the authorities of both Italy and Greece to also enact legislative reforms in an attempt to strike a balance between tourism and conservation.

In addition to fines for behaviours that threaten cultural heritage, such as defacing monuments or engaging in unauthorised excavation, Italy has introduced measures to regulate tourist flows and limit access to sensitive areas.

The efforts of both Italy and Greece to promote sustainable tourism practices reflect the importance of respecting the cultural legacy to preserve it for future generations. Key measures include fines for littering, camping in prohibited areas, and damaging ecosystems through activities such as off-road driving or illegal waste disposal, as well as raucous behaviour fuelled by alcohol. Stricter enforcement of existing regulations governing tourist activities, such as water sports and boat rentals will be executed to drive down the negative impact of tourism and hopefully create a more harmonious relationship between tourists and local communities.

Few people would want their holiday ended by arrest followed by a sizeable fine due to their own inconsiderate actions. However, if this does happen to you it is important to immediately seek legal advice. A criminal defence lawyer may be able to mitigate the situation. Giambrone & Partners can assist British and other foreign nationals in southern European countries in the event of arrest, our criminal defence lawyers can provide immediate assistance.

Sergio Filonenko Kibu, assists commercial clients with a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. He is a highly regarded, astute lawyer advising on challenging cross-border disputes, including debt collection, contractual disputes and breach of contract. Sergio advised on a complex high-value international financial disputes across several jurisdictions. He also assists businesses with drafting shareholder agreements, share purchases, mergers and acquisitions and security agreements.

Furthermore, Sergio can advise private clients on inheritance, drafting wills for foreign nationals with overseas assets including Spanish real estate, he can also assist with probate and inheritance disputes. Sergio also advises on cross-border divorce, establishing the financial and child arrangements.

Sergio has assisted British nationals arrested in Spain for various offences and has successfully defended a number of clients.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

11 April 2024

Holiday Hotspots In Portugal, Spain, Italy And Greece Are Introducing New Laws To Curb Tourist Misconduct

UK Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment


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