British Tourists Come Under Fire in Greece, Spain

A typical evening on the Greek isle of Zakynthos—one of Europe's hot spots for British tourists—is a modern-day bacchanal: drunken fights are common, as is the sight of revelers dashing naked from bar to bar. Move over, Americans. Brits are the new tourists that the rest of the Continent loves to hate. The trouble has been brewing for years, but now there's a backlash as crime soars: as of August, Greek police show a record number of 41 reported rapes of U.K. women. On Zakynthos alone, nine British ladies were arrested on charges of prostitution during an open-air oral-sex contest this July, followed by the death of a 17-year-old British boy outside a popular nightclub. In Spain, arrests of U.K. nationals rose 32 percent this year to 2,032 incarcerations.

The British government is trying to contain the problem, sending ambassadors to do damage control and launching campaigns to curb bad behavior. But it may be difficult to change tourists' ways: the U.K. is one of the heaviest-drinking countries in Europe, and young Brits have become accustomed to "cut-price flights to countries that openly advertise cheap alcohol," says Martin Plant, author of "Binge Britain."

While many Brits couldn't care less about how the Greeks see them, "countries have realized that they don't have to put up with this," says British social scientist Simon Anholt. As such, Brits may find themselves shut out of resorts if they don't soon sober up.