The cold winds of the economic slowdown have started to blow through Palma. Shops that I have known since I was a child are rapidly disappearing and I don't think I have ever seen so many for sale signs on the High Streets as there are at the moment. There is something rather depressing about empty shops. I can still vividly remember walking up one of the main shopping malls in Britain in the early 1990s in my home town and being shocked at seeing the number of closing down sales and empty businesses. Everyone and no-one is to blame for the economic slowdown which is now hitting the island. We all know why. The drop in tourism has simply forced many businesses to go under because afterall the economy of this island is based on Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt coming here on holiday. The warning signs about the slowdown in tourism were on the wall 12 months ago. But everyone chose to disregard them. And you can see why. The tour operators have cried wolf before and at the end of the day we had a record season. This time however, they were right, and even they seem to have been rather taken aback especially if you see the share price of some of the leading tour firms at the moment. So what can be learnt from the last 12 months? Not to be complacent and never believe that Majorca has a godgiven right to have a good season. When someone cries wolf it is best to be on your guard. Hopefully, next season will be better and lessons of summer 2002 have been learnt or perhaps even relearnt.