Understanding British Youth behaviours on Holiday in Ibiza

Daniel Briggs, Tim Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The behavior of British youth abroad has caused considerable concern over recent years. This is because many British youth engage in binge drinking, drug use, sex behavior and other risk behaviors – especially in the Balearics, Spain. While research has documented levels of alcohol use, drug use, risk and sex behaviors on these islands, it tends to rely on survey data. This article aims to offer some contextualization to the British youth holiday experience and to examine why such behaviors might take place.

The study uses ethnographic methods (observation, open‐ended focus groups) with British youth in San Antonio, Ibiza. Over the course of one week in July 2010, 17 focus groups were undertaken (n=97 aged between 17 and 31). Observations were conducted in bars, clubs, beaches, and general tourist areas.

The data suggest that young people engage in these behaviors not only to escape the constraints of work and family but also because they are exciting. The data also indicate that these behaviors appeared to help British youth construct life biographies which were integral to their identity construction. The findings are also considered within the social context of Ibiza which also played a role in promoting these behaviors.

No ethnographic research exists on the topic of British youth and their behaviors abroad. Previous research is mostly epidemiological survey research which does not adequately consider the social meaning and context for the behavior of British youth abroad.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Tourism, Culture and Hospitality Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2012


  • British Youth
  • Holiday
  • Risk
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Sex and risk behaviours
  • Young adults
  • Individual behaviour
  • Leisure activities
  • Tourism
  • Risk analysis
  • Spain


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