€200 VIP Tickets And 12,000 Tourists A Year: How Sex and Booze Sell In Magaluf

Last week's now infamous Magaluf sex video has left us all questioning what it really means to be a Brit abroad. But for the club promoters and reps who work on the island, are cheap booze and easy sex simply instant money spinners?


by Lucy Draper |
Published on

By now you’ve probably heard about the girl in Magaluf who was filmed sharing and caring with 24 men or, to be more accurate, 24 boys. The video, and resulting Internet and media storm, has understandably sparked numerous debates both about how it’s always the female figure who seems to be burdened with the blame and shame in these situations, but also about the very nature of these holiday destinations. Clearly the PG action we were seeing on Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents didn’t scratch the surface.

I went to Magaluf after A Levels and for all the foam parties, dubious tattoo parlours and repetitive strains of Basshunter Now You’re Gone that could be heard everywhere we went, I didn’t actually see anything that bad. Yes there were bar crawls and reps on the street trying to lure you into bars with the promise of 'a free shot, and a bucket, and a pitcher of sex on the beach, and a bottle of wine' for about €5, but all the overtly sexual stuff? Not so much. There were girls dancing on the bar but more in a kind of amateur Coyote Ugly way than an imitation of Rihanna in her Pour It Up video. So what’s happened in the last five years – have these places got more extreme in hopes of attracting increasing numbers of English teenagers? And if so who is responsible for this move into the more dirty side of ‘fun’ – the tourists, the bar owners, or the reps?

One girl had to wank a stray dog off for a free shot.

'It was pretty standard for girls to show their boobs for a free shot,' explained 21-year-old Magluf veteran Charlotte. 'When I went to Ayia Napa last year loads of bars were running these competitions where whoever danced the most sluttily got a free drink, but it got really out of hand. People basically just took off all their clothes and grinded on the bar because they wanted to win.' Another guy who worked in a bar in Kavos a couple of years ago recalls the worse thing he saw during his time: 'One girl had to wank a stray dog off for a free shot.' Rebecca Loos, eat your heart out.

Having watched What Happens in Kavos and after hearing several testimonies like the ones above, you do start to wonder what possesses people to do these things? After all, how badly can you need a free drink, especially considering it probably costs about €2 anyway? Well, mob mentality and a certain amount of gentle (and not so gentle) encouragement from the reps is a good place to start. Reps generally make their money from selling tickets to bar crawls, but it’s also their responsibility to then make the events as ‘fun’ as possible. And this means numerous drinking games, which are more often than not based around some kind of sexual theme. Shauna, who worked as a rep in Bendiorm explains that one popular choice was the sex position game: 'Everyone got on stage to do it, but loads of people stripped down to nothing so it was basically like they were doing it in front of everyone. People had no shame – the guys thought they were cool and the girls did too, but everyone just looked at them as being completely slutty.' I asked if she actively pushed people into participating: 'I didn’t personally. I was the kind of rep who would look after people if they were drunk and stuff, but you’re going to get a variety of people doing the job like you would everywhere so I’m not saying it didn’t happen…'

Prices for Carnage Magalluf's parties range from €10 to €200 for their ‘V.I.P.’ tickets, so with that kind of money being spent, revellers will expect to have a ‘good time.’

With 12,000 young people visiting Magaluf every year, it’s no surprise that there are multiple promoters and companies eager to tap into the market there. One of the most notorious of these is Carnage Magalluf, who’s Twitter page boasts that they are 'home to the BIGGEST and BEST Events,' and it was reportedly on one of their bar crawls that the aforementioned video was taken. Prices for their parties range from €10 to €200 for their ‘V.I.P.’ tickets, so with that kind of money being spent, revellers will expect to have a ‘good time’ and the Carnage organisers and those who work for them are certainly willing to provide it.

Then there are groups like the MagaWorkerAssemble who apparently help 'first timers with accommodation and finding work abroad.' But with tweets such as: 'If your on a bar crawl, you don't need money as your free drinks sorted, all you need is mouthwash to wash the cock taste out your mouth!' you get a sense that holidaymakers welfare is not top of their priority. It’s not hard to see how reps can get swept up with the whole atmosphere of these places – two months of sun, booze cruises and casual sex could certainly warp both your sense of normality, but also morality. As Shauna pointed out: 'It’s a completely different world out there - you’re completely cut off from reality. It’s a party place.' Removed from the constraints of jobs or familial responsibilities, both the holidaymakers and the reps lose their inhibitions. Mix in an abundance of alcohol and companies who actively encourage the most shocking behaviour they can, and it’s hardly surprising that things can get out of hand.

In a press conference this morning, Carnage Magallufowner Paul Smith has said that he doesn't condone the now infamous sex video. 'I wasn't fully aware of what's been happening… it shouldn't happen again. I've got a moral responsibility, I've made mistakes but I won't apologies to that girl's family.' He might not be condoning it now, but Carnage's immediate response last week was slightly less measured. 'We are not responsible for the girls actions. The girl and her 8 friends bought tickets for the next BARCRAWL as they said it was AMAZING!'

For all the sex-games and public vomiting, tourists still bring an awful lot of money to these party islands every year.

But what can be done to combat this descent into chaos?One local newspaper in Majorca attacked the 'greed and unscrupulousness of a few businesses' and a socialist group on the Calvia Council has called for all pub-crawls to be banned. But it seems unlikely that these things will be completely shut down – after all, for all the sex-games and public vomiting, tourists still bring an awful lot of money to these party islands every year. And whilst the €500,000 that the Spanish Ministry of Tourism spent putting adverts in British tabloids telling tourists to behave themselves might have seemed like a good idea at the time, the Brits abroad phenomenon is not going away any time soon. What’s worse if that with the rise of camera phones these holiday incidents are recorded and shared, so where as ‘what happens in Kavos, stays in Kavos’ might once have been true – it certainly isn’t any longer.

And it’s not just limited to the infamous bar crawls either. ‘I can totally see how the girl in the video got into that situation,’ explains another holiday goer we spoke to. ‘I went on a booze cruise on my second day there and found myself pinned to a chair as the rep straddled me, and forced to down schnapps straight out of a bottle with a giant cock stuck on it - like a dentist’s chair. Then I was made to suck vodka and Fanta out of a tampon. I was so drunk I couldn’t get up off the netting on the catamaran, so the rep just lay on top of me. It was really creepy, but there was no way I was sober enough to know what I was doing.’

It’s a well-known fact that sex sells, and these kind of parties are no exception. When there's that sort of profit to be made, we can't see things changing on the Magaluf strip any time soon.

Follow Lucy on Twitter @DraperLucy

Picture: Martin Parr/Magnum Photos

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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