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Brief Published: 12 Nov 2018

Are Party Islands a Thing of The Past?

Boracay Island

The all-day booze-cruises, foam parties and cheap drinks that once attracted young people to the party island capitals of the world are no longer a draw for youthful consumers, who are seeking a more fulfilling and Instagram-worthy travel experience.

On the Philippines' party island Boracay, unchecked tourism and all-day parties had previously left it overcrowded, with sewage pouring into the sea and damaging coral and marine life.

Having closed its doors to tourists in April 2018, the island has now reopened with a cleaned-up image. Restrictions now apply to water sports and beach vendors, while tourist numbers are controlled, and a new ban prevents drinking and bonfires on the beach. The island has also seen the closure of all of its casinos and many hotels.

Likewise, this year, UK package holiday provider Club 18-30 closed down, having served popular European party island destinations such as Magaluf in Mallorca, Laganas in Zante and San Antonio in Ibiza. Parent company Thomas Cook said that the move signalled the end of a tradition of excess.

Alfonso Rodriguez, mayor of Calvia, the municipality that includes Magaluf, said: "We're seeing real change already. We want to move away from the excess of the past and diversify our business model. It can't just be about getting drunk and partying."

Similarly, in June 2018, the Thai government indefinitely closed the famed Kho Phi Phi Leh beach, globally known as the setting for 2000 film The Beach. The beach received up to 5,000 visitors per day and the resulting litter, sunscreen and boat pollution has resulted in the destruction of 80% of local coral, as well as habitats on the island itself.

See Marketing to New Travel Tribes and Hospitality's Tribal Focus for more on how to attract this new youthful breed of traveller.