Is sex on the beach just a cocktail from now on?
PUBLISHED: 10:22 09 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:22 09 October 2018
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Holidays are getting more selfie than sexy as Millennials turn their backs on Club 18-30 - are those days of sun. sex and sangria at an end?
“It was an eye opener,” said one man of his Club 18-30 holiday.
The famous, sometimes infamous holiday club, which has been going since the 1970s, will be taking its last party of holidaymakers to Magaluf on Majorca on October 27.
The Thomas Cook brand has been entertaining both fun-loving young people and, occasionally, readers of tabloids who are shocked at some of the antics, for nearly five decades.
Before it’s too late, there’s still availability this month... or at least, there was when I had a look, a couple of days ago. What do you get? Seven nights all-inclusive at a hotel in Magaluf, flying from Gatwick.
The £348 package at the BH Mallorca hotel tells me that: “With stylish dècor, international artists and an adult-only waterpark, the BH Mallorca Hotel is one for the party people. Days kick off around 11am, giving you plenty of time to recover from the night before (if you need it!).”
I’m already having to recover from the very idea of it. But then, I’m in my 60s and this clearly aimed at “the party people”.
A cheaper option, for £188 at the Martinique apartments, offers “only a short walk from some of the biggest nightlife in Europe”. “And for those who don’t let a hangover stop them, there’s some really cool facilities to enjoy. The lively pool scene will get you in the mood as days turn into night around the lush, large pool. While those still hanging can chill at the long sandy beach, which is only a few minutes away.”
Rather scarily, online oracle Wikipedia reveals that in the region of one-third of Club 18-30 customers are travelling on holiday without their parents for the first time.
The company was set up in 1970 by the Horizon Group and its first destination was to Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava. The company was sold on to a management buyout in 1973.
Subsequently, an advertising campaign promoted its attractions to people who were able to enjoy themselves in uninhibited, alcohol-fuelled ways.
In 1995, one advertising billboard proclaimed: “It’s not all sex, sex, sex. There’s a bit of sun and sea as well.” It was not universally well-received.
After a number of buy-outs Club 18-30 was acquired by Thomas Cook in 1998 as part of a wider deal.
One former 18-30 club holidaymaker (we’re going back to the 70s here) recalls his holiday with a pang of nostalgia: “It wasn’t just singles then. But it was pretty wild at times. There were some Londoners who thought it was funny, pinching girls bikinis when they were in the sea so that they had to sprint naked back to the beach to get their towels.
“Every night it was a round of discos, trying to get off with the opposite sex (but usually too drunk to do so). There were club drinking games and jumping off boats by the beach.
“I danced with a pretty girl from Hitchin... and hit it off with her. I even went to Hitchin a couple of times to take her out afterwards. Just a holiday romance.”
A former Club 18-30 rep, writing in The Gurdian newspaper in 2003, estimated he had slept with nigh on 50 women holidaymakers in a season.
“I think everyone knows what they are doing and they are all up for a laugh.”
“On a night out an average man would drink at least a beer in every bar - between six and 10 a night - and have four or five shots such as tequila, vodka, sambuca or Jack Daniels.”
“It (sex) It happens a lot on the beach. If a couple start kissing on the street they think, let’s just go down to the beach. Some groups have competitions - I have seen score charts where you get one point for kissing someone, two if you play with their private parts and three for sex.”
Funny how things change as you get older, I’m more excited by the prospect of a quiz night, these days.
At the beginning of the 21st Century, 110,000 young British people were going on Club 18-30 holidays each year, bringing in £48m in sales annually. This summer, numbers were reported to be down to 45,000. When questions about the future of Club 18-30 were first raised in May, this year, Thomas Cook blamed a downturn in its fortunes to the rise of “ego travel” and Instagram for driving young people away from cheap package clubbing holidays and towards more photogenic travel opportunities.
It seems the heyday of uninhibited holiday behaviour has gone forever.