In detail

Drunken Tourism: What's behind?

Drunken Tourism: What's behind?

In some parts of Spain and perhaps other countries, there is the so-called drunkenness tourism. This type of tourism, not only consists of drinking large amounts of alcohol, but is accompanied by acts of vandalism in which street furniture is broken, urine is urged in public places, sexual relations are maintained in the sight of all ... It is also accompanied by shouts and songs at any time of day and dirt on beaches and streets. This type of tourism, It is also called incivious tourism, since it goes beyond drinking alcohol.

Now, what is behind this type of tourism? Why do these types of behaviors occur? What can facilitate these behaviors to appear? It is important to note that when the concept of "drunken tourism" is used throughout the entire article, reference will be made to the above. Although it may be more correct to call it incivious tourism, the media have popularized the first name more.

Drunkenness Tourism and Disengagement

From the social psychology there is a concept that serves to explain part of this type of behavior: disengagement. It is important to note that it is not due to a single reason, but that different variables influence. However, the process of de-dividing can help explain quite completely everything behind binge tourism. What does it consist of?

As Moral, Cantó and Gómez-Jacinto (2004), from the University of Malaga affirm, "in this situations, anonymity, group and reduced individual self-awareness would lead people to have uninhibited, impulsive and anti-regulatory behaviors". According to Myers (2004), there are several factors that influence this process:

  • Anonymity
  • The responsability.
  • The presence of a large group.
  • Physical anonymity
  • Stimulation overload.
  • Dependence on interactions.
  • Internal state of deindividualization.
  • Impulsive behaviors.

But how do these factors influence when carrying out this type of behavior?

Factor Interaction

The group is an important element since it guarantees a certain anonymity to its components. Imagine that a group of ten people go down the street in a drunken state. One of them starts singing late at night. It is very possible that the rest will follow and end up singing. Now, if instead of being a group it is a single person, the probability of singing is greatly reduced, why? Because you don't enjoy the necessary anonymity. If, when a vandalism is carried out, it is not supported by the anonymity of the group, the possibilities of the behavior are reduced.

On the other hand, individual self-awareness is also reduced, that is, if instead of throwing a waste in a bin we throw it into the street, being in a group we will feel less responsible. Our identity is blurred in favor of the group. You could say that "It's not me who throws an empty beer can on the floor, it's the group". Thus, our self-awareness decreases and we carry out actions that we would not do alone. Group size greatly influences behavior. A group of three people may be more self-conscious than another of ten. Our sense of responsibility is less the larger the group.

Drunk and permissive tourism

Another aspect to highlight is the permissiveness of this type of behavior by the corresponding authorities. When tourists travel to certain places, they already know that they will be able to offset their behavior. That is to say, what they are sold for their vacations consists of beach, alcohol, party and almost everything that they want. In this way, once they set foot on the plane towards their vacations, the uncivil behavior begins.

But what would happen if the authorities did not allow such actions? Very possibly, they would not happen. So, If we combine the process of de-dividing with the permissiveness of the authorities that could put a brake, this phenomenon becomes a snowball. It is therefore essential the need for collaboration between the different entities involved to alleviate this type of tourism that affects both neighbors.


  • Moral, F., Cantó, J. and Gómez-Jacinto, L. (2004). Internet and disintegration. New perspectives on the disintegration in the network: the social identity model of de-dividing phenomena (SIDE). Journal of Social Psychology, 19 (1), 93-106.
  • Myers, D. (2004). Explorations of social psychology. Madrid: McGraw-Hill.