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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Boozy British Tourists Wearing Out Welcome

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The party started early Friday morning, when EasyJet's 6:15 a.m. flight to Prague left Stansted Airport.

"I thought we were going to Barcelona, but apparently Prague is quite a historical and cultural city," snickered a 30-ish passenger whose breakfast, three cans of Kronenborg, was lined up in front of him.

In the last few years, a new kind of British tourist, lured by cut-rate airlines whose flights can cost as little as $25, has descended on Prague in unprecedented numbers, with one goal in mind: to drink as much as possible. Wasted and aggressive, in drag or wearing only underpants, they spend weekends staggering in packs from bar to bar. So troublesome have they become that some places refuse to serve Britons in large groups.

"It's disgusting,'' said Martina Tajdusova, who works in a hotel downtown. "They spend a lot of money here, but the British don't know when to stop, when is enough. They drink and drink and drink."

Tour groups encourage the business by portraying Prague as a center for cheap beer and loose women, and by organizing pub crawls whose participants set out to drink in as many places as possible before stumbling on to the return flight home.

In other places, too, Britons are earning a reputation for bad behavior. In Greece, several British tourists died this summer after bar fights or drunken pranks gone amiss. In one videotaped incident that sparked widespread disgust, three British women leading a tour group on Corfu performed flamboyant oral sex on fellow employees in front of a cheering crowd.

In Spain, where more than 600 Britons are in jail, many for offenses committed while on vacation, Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava has been moved to ban drinking on the streets and beaches. Even hard-drinking Dublin in 1998 began to discourage them in the Temple Bar neighborhood.

The British, particularly those on stag weekends, certainly stand out. They travel in groups. They wear unifying items of clothing, like custom-printed T-shirts or humorous costumes. Prague residents are still talking about the time a group of 53 women arrived from Wales, each one dressed like Tom Jones.

Robbie Norton, owner of Irish pub Rocky O'Reilly's in Prague, said most groups are harmless -- and big business. For instance, he said, a party of 23 men drank 180 vodkas and 60 cans of Red Bull one Friday. "I know that sounds totally insane, but they came back and did the same thing on Saturday and the same thing on Sunday," he said.

Then another stag party settled in. They planned to remain indoors, they said, so as not to offend people in the street. But it raised an interesting question: If all they wanted to do was drink at an Irish pub, why not just stay home?

"It's cheaper to come here than to go to Blackpool," one explained, "and nobody knows us here."