Magaluf sex video just the latest example of tourists behaving badly

A video showing a female British tourist performing sex acts on men in a Spanish bar in order to receive a free drink has caused outrage amid claims local bars were encouraging such behaviour.

The video, shot at a bar in the Spanish resort town of Magaluf, shows the woman performing oral sex on more than 20 men on the dance floor. In return, she receives a bottle of Cava worth about $A4.

The town's mayor, Manuel Onieva, has vowed to investigate and said any bars encouraging such behaviour were breaking the law. Local media reported the act was part of a trend call "mamading" ("mamada" is Spanish for oral sex) that has appeared in resort town bars in Spain.

The incident is just the latest case in the long history of tourists behaving badly overseas.

Dr David Beirman, senior lecturer in tourism at the University of Technology Sydney, said it was hard to hold the local authorities responsible.

"Often it's the tourists, and not the destination, that is to blame," he said.

Youth can be a factor in tourist's bad behaviour overseas. An Australian Bureau of Statistics study in 2008 found young Australians were most likely to indulge in drinking to risky levels between the ages of 18 and 24 – a time when many young Australians travel overseas for the first time.

"Young tourists see an opportunity ... it's their first time away from mum and dad, so this sort of behaviour is quite a normal practice," said Dr Beirman.

"When young people are travelling there can be peer pressure to over how much they can drink or the types of outrageous behaviour they can engage in. When your normal social constrictions from home are taken away you may behave in these ways."


Thailand's full moon parties have become notorious for drug use and debauched behaviour. At these events, beer is typically sold by the bucket-load (literally) and occasionally dodgy spirits flow freely.

The full moon parties have often resulted in party-goers getting injured or even dying. Sometimes through their own fault – trying to jump over open fires or swimming in the ocean at night while drunk – but sometimes through no fault of their own. Longboats ferrying tourists to and from the parties have been known to crash.

In Laos, the town of Vang Vieng became notorious for its 'tubing' tours. Tourists would rent an inflatable inner tube, float down the Nam Song river and stop off at the ramshackle riverside bars along the way, getting drunker after each stop.

Authorities eventually cracked down on tubing after several high-profile deaths, including several Australians. The tubing scene has since faded.

Risk-taking or uninhibited behaviour has been common for tourists overseas for years and not just in typical party destinations like Thailand or Spain.

Despite rules of behaviour in Dubai being well known, there have been several high-profile cases of tourists and ex-pats being arrested and jailed over public displays of affection or even public sex.

Despite the shocking stories that occasionally surface, such as the Magaluf video, Beirman said tourists behaving badly overseas is actually less prevalent than we think it is.

"Generally speaking Aussies are relatively well behaved," he said. Despite more Australians travelling last year, there were fewer requests for consular assistance than the year before.

As for the reputation of Magaluf as a tourist destination, Beirman said this would depend on whether further similar stories emerged.

"If it's a one-off it won't reflect on the destination," he said. "If there are a lot of incidents, like there were in Vang Vieng, then the destination will start to get a bad reputation."

Beirman also warned travellers to check the fine print of their travel insurance policies, as there are often clauses that exclude cover for activities engaged in while inebriated.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Smartraveller website offers the following tips for Australians partying overseas:

1. Pre-party planning

Decide where and when you are going and what your transport options are, especially if you don't know the city backwards yet. If you are catching public transport home, ask what time the last service runs. Never use taxis, buses, trains or boats that are overcrowded or look unsafe and try to avoid having to travel in ferries and speedboats after dark.

2. Know your alcohol limits

When you are drunk your judgment is affected, and you are more likely to take risks and make poor decisions.

3. Beware of drink spiking

Never accept drinks from strangers or leave your drink unattended.

4. Don't be a mug - don't use drugs

Importing, buying, carrying or taking drugs incurs serious penalties in most countries, including the death penalty, which apply equally to foreigners.

5. Take care of your mates (it's an Aussie thing)

Australians frequently get into difficulty at Full Moon and other parties and festivals overseas after becoming separated from their friends. Don't leave your mates alone – keep in regular contact and be aware of where people in your group are.

6. Venue safety

Be aware that party venues overseas might not have the same safety standards you are accustomed to. If you are concerned that a venue is becoming too crowded, it would be wise to move on.

7. Look after your gear

Avoid carrying your passport, large amounts of cash, multiple credit cards or other valuables to parties and clubs.

8. Don't get ripped off

Before entering or ordering in a bar, restaurant or other establishment, check the price list. If you don't, you may find yourself with an unexpectedly large bill which you might be forced to pay under duress before you can leave.

9. No fighting

The only Aussies fighting overseas should be boxers wearing the green and gold. For everyone else, it just isn't on.

10. Stay in touch

Call, text or email family and friends at home regularly and let them know where you are. Facebook and other social media updates are a good way to stay in touch.