Holidaymakers to Spain are being put at risk with compliance to local hotel safety standards being described as a “lottery”.
The warning from a legal expert came in the wake of a third young British holidaymaker dying in a balcony fall from a hotel in the Majorca party resort of Magaluf.
Christopher Deacon, senior associate at Stewarts, legal experts in injuries and deaths sustained abroad, said: “Following the recent news of a third British holidaymaker tragically falling at the Eden Roc resort in Magaluf, there are some clear safety issues that need addressing to avoid further death or serious injury.
“I understand from reports that the mayor of Magaluf is looking into tightening up the safety regulations.
“There are already strict safety and building regulation guidelines in Spain, but these do not apply retrospectively.
“This puts holidaymakers at risk, with the hotel’s compliance with the most recent safety standards being a lottery for guests depending on when the hotel was built or last renovated.
“The hotel could well be liable for compensation if a failure to adhere to local standards or if a breach of its duty of care to guests was found to have caused the injuries.”
Deacon added: “Whilst everyone has responsibility for their own personal safety on holiday, many of these resorts thrive on a business model aimed at attracting young holidaymakers drawn by the promise of cheap hotel accommodation and a guaranteed party scene.
“Hotels should be aware of the heightened risk to guests who may be unfamiliar with the surroundings, particularly when returning to their room after enjoying the local nightlife which is part and parcel of this type of holiday.”
The Safer Tourism Foundation called for immediate safety improvements at the Eden Roc apartments but warned that the issue was far wider.
The charity’s chief executive Kathy Atkinson said: “No organisation with a conscience can sell a holiday or a long stay rental at this accommodation without immediate improvements being made.
“Any UK based travel company selling this accommodation should use its contracting relationship to reinforce this requirement and should stop selling accommodation at Eden Roc if improvements are not made as a matter of urgency.”
She added: “But this issue goes beyond one specific accommodation and one resort. All operators need to double check that their safety audit processes include all structures which pose significant risks, but which may fall outside the usual definition of ‘balconies’.
“These tragedies are not unique to the Eden Roc. All travel companies and booking platforms selling accommodation in high rise buildings in Magaluf and in other destinations popular with young travellers should remind customers, especially groups of young adults, of the potential dangers of falling from height, especially for those under the influence of alcohol.
“Although it may be difficult in high season, it also makes sense to accommodate groups of young adults on the lowest floors where possible, as a precautionary measure. It is worth compromising the view to save a life.
“We all need to use communication methods that will cut through to that audience effectively.
“The bereaved families and friends of these young people deserve to see steps taken right now to ensure others do not suffer as they are doing.”
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