The mayor of a Crete town has grown so exasperated with the rowdy, drunken behaviour of British tourists that he has demanded action from the British government.
“They scream, they sing, they fall down, they take their clothes off, they cross-dress, they vomit,” said Konstantinos Lagoudakis, the mayor of Malia, in an interview. “It’s only the British people – not the Germans or the French.”
His anger echoed the frustration felt by the residents of many Mediterranean resorts, who have watched helplessly while their town centres are invaded by hordes of carousing British teenagers.
“The government of Britain has to do something,” Mr Lagoudakis said. “These people are giving a bad name to their country.”
Malia, on the popular northern coast of the Greek island, has attracted an increasing number of booze-fuelled package tours crammed with young people seeking a week away from the constraints of parental control.
A Foreign Office report published last month showed that between 2006-07 the number of British citizens arrested in 15 popular foreign resorts had increased by more than 15 per cent to 4,603, with many cases due to “excessive drinking”.
It is not clear what action is being sought by Mr Lagoudakiz, who was interviewed by the New York Times, but it is clear the British government is already embarrassed by the behaviour of some of its citizens.
Britain’s ambassador in Athens recently flew to the resort of Zakynthos to reassure local officials, who are cracking down on binge drinking. The consulate is meanwhile trying to get across the dangers of bad behaviour with a poster campaign.
For the resort towns, the money British tourists spend is offset by the added costs of public policing and the strains on health services caused by alcohol abuse and unsafe sex.
Much of the problem has been blamed on the growing number of cheap flights and the prevalence of “happy hour” deals in bars organised by British tour operators.