We booked a family holiday at one of TUI’s specialized hotels for families with children in Gran Canaria. And now TUI and Norwegian are pushing alcohol on us through several channels – this might be violating the Norwegian alcohol act…

We booked a family holiday at one of TUI’s specialized hotels for families with children in Gran Canaria. And then TUI and Norwegian started pushing alcohol on us through multiple channels.*

Our whole family with children of all ages, young adults and older family members went on holiday in a “TUI Family Life” hotel concept in Gran Canaria. The venue is especially adapted for children and adolescents with a children’s pool, a kids club and lots of activities for children, youth as well as for us adults. Everything appears to facilitate a safe and fun holiday for all of us. TUI Group, based in Germany, is the largest leisure, travel and tourism company in the world.

Advertising through SMS and email

Therefore, I was very surprised when TUI and Norwegian – Norway’s largest airline – in the last few weeks before departure started a massive effort to convince us to buy as much alcohol as possible to take with us on the family vacation. Both through e-mail and over SMS, I’ve been encouraged to use both the special opportunity and the final chance to “fill the bar without emptying the wallet”. The headline is “4 for 3 alcohol” with various pictures of whiskey, vodka, other liquor and liqueurs which I can get at a discounted price with delivery on arrival at the resort. In addition to all that, they tell me:

Sparkling wine fits well for most, and makes most occasions more festive”.

It’s marketing I haven’t asked for.

The advertising ban is meant to protect children and youth

The Norwegian Alcohol Act has very strict rules for advertising and marketing of alcohol. That’s because there is extensive research showing that alcohol marketing and quantity discounts influence us. It makes people buy more and consume more.

The ones who are harmed by adult alcohol use are children and young people. Projections from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health show that 90,000 children have a mother or father who have struggled with alcohol problems the past year.

Adults consume more alcohol during the holidays

This adds up to almost 1 in 10 Norwegian children. Many of them experience the holidays as extra difficult. In 2017, Ipsos conducted a survey among Norwegian children and adolescents between 8 and 19 years of age on behalf of Av-og-till. It shows that almost 3 out of 10 Norwegian children and youth find that their mom or dad consume more alcohol during holiday than they do otherwise.

TUI holiday leaves a bad taste

We all have a shared responsibility to ensure as much as possible for all children to feel safe. Therefore, it leaves a bad taste to be exposed to aggressive alcohol promotions when we just wanted to enjoy the TUI family holiday concept.

I’ve turned to the legal experts at the Directorate of Health to find out if TUI is breaking the alcohol law or has found a loophole in it for cynical alcohol promotions. But there is little doubt that the greatest possible profit is much more important for TUI than providing a family concept that is the safest and best possible for as many children as possible.

*This article was first published in Norwegian in “Vårt Land