British holidaymakers banned from death-trap balconies in boozy tourist hotspots

BRITISH holidaymakers are banned from staying in hotel rooms with death-trap balconies in boozy tourist hotspots in Spain.

The move comes after a string of Majorca death plunges.

With the 2019 holiday season underway in Spain’s Balearic Islands, tour operators including TUI and Jet2 have told hotels not to allocate rooms with balconies lower than 1.1 metre, reports the Mirror.

It’s not clear how the ban will be enforced, but hotel operators said that travel firms are keen to avoid being sued over falls.

Nearly 19million British nationals visited Spain last year, and “most visits are trouble-free”, says the Foreign Office.

But, it points out, “there have been a number of very serious accidents, some fatal, as a result of falls from balconies.

“Many of these incidents have involved British nationals and have had a devastating impact on those involved and their loved ones.”

Over a three-month period to June last year, 11 Brit holidaymakers fell from balconies – eight of whom were teenagers or aged in their 20s. Five people died as a result of their injuries, said the Association of British Travel Agents.

Francisco Gene, director of the Menorca Binibeca Hotel, told the Mirror: “TUI and Jet2 rules mean no British guests can stay in rooms with balconies that don’t meet new height requirements.

“In places like Magaluf in Majorca there have been a lot of accidents, usually after guests have been drinking and climb over to friends’ rooms.”

A TUI UK spokesman said that customer safety was a “top priority” and that the travel operator was working “with hotel partners to ensure balconies meet recommended guidelines.”

And a Jet2 Holidays spokesperson said the British package holiday provider regularly reviews health and safety, with “balcony safety very much part of that”.

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) is keen for holidaymakers to “use your balcony sensibly and keep an eye on friends who may be the worse for wear”.

In an online poster aimed at cutting the death toll, it reminds people “your balcony is there for relaxing on.

“It’s not a shortcut to your friend’s room or a diving board to a pool.

“Some holidaymakers die or are severely injured every year as a result of inappropriate behaviour on balconies, often after having a few drinks.”

The Foreign Office warns that “some local councils will impose fines to those caught behaving irresponsibly on balconies or jumping from balconies into swimming pools.”

It warns: “Don’t unnecessary risks around balconies, particularly if you’re under the influence of drink or drugs.

“Your travel insurance may not cover you for incidents that take place on a balcony or if you were under the influence of drink or drugs when it happened.”

There have been a series of balcony deaths so far this year, including Luke Freeman, 19, of Reading, who died instantly after falling from a fifth-floor balcony on July 2, in the Costa Brava resort of Lloret de Mar.

The death toll of Brit holidaymakers includes Colin McGarry, aged 48, from Belfast, who fell from the 15th floor of an apartment block in Benidorm last month.

Also in June, Freddie Pring, 20, died after falling from a Magaluf balcony while on a lads’ holiday in the Majorca seaside resort.

Cops in Magaluf fined three tourists for hurling themselves from balconies as part of drunken dares in June.

One Brit tried to claim £35,000 in compensation after claiming his broken bones were the result of a slip in the pool.

Another involved a Spanish tourist throwing himself from an apartment block in broad daylight.

A sick Facebook page has been set up to mock Brit holidaymakers who have been either injured or killed in balcony falls in Spain.

The Spanish group, named “Balconing Mallorca”, includes a league table of nations showing how many people from each country have been hurt or killed playing a game called “balconing”.

This potentially fatal practice involves climbing between balconies, usually on the outside of a hotel, or jumping from one balcony into a swimming pool.

The sick chart awards a country one point for every person hurt and three points for every person killed.

The UK is currently top of the 2019 table with six points – given for three injuries and one death.