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Open Access Research article

Party package travel: alcohol use and related problems in a holiday resort: a mixed methods study

Morten Hesse*, Sébastien Tutenges*, Sanna Schliewe and Tine Reinholdt

Author Affiliations

Aarhus University, Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, Copenhagen Division, Købmagergade 26E, 1150 Copenhagen C, Denmark

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:351  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-351

Published: 7 October 2008

Abstract

Background

People travelling abroad tend to increase their use of alcohol and other drugs. In the present study we describe organized party activities in connection with young tourists' drinking, and the differences between young people travelling with and without organized party activities.

Methods

We conducted ethnographic observations and a cross-sectional survey in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria.

Results

The behaviour of the guides from two travel agencies strongly promoted heavy drinking, but discouraged illicit drug use. Even after controlling for several potential confounders, young people who travelled with such "party package travel agencies" were more likely to drink 12 or more units when going out. In univariate analyses, they were also more likely to get into fights, but were not more likely to seek medical assistance or medical assistance for an accident or an alcohol-related problem. After controlling for confounders, the association between type of travel agency and getting into fights was no longer significant. Short-term consequences of drinking in the holiday resort did not differ between party package travellers and ordinary package travellers.

Conclusion

There may be a small impact of party package travels on young people's drinking. Strategies could be developed used to minimise the harm associated with both party package travel and other kinds of travel where heavy substance use is likely to occur.