Joan Collins DURING the next five years the countries most in competition with the Balearics for a greater share in the tourist market will be Turkey and Croatia, and to a lesser extent Bulgaria and Brazil, according to a study by the Economic and Social Council (CES). This is bad news for the Balearics unless they can somehow hold on to, and improve, their share of the market. This conclusion was made by a group of experts who have evaluated the competitive situation between the Balearics and 21 other tourist destinations. They did this by applying 12 factors to each destination in order to predict how they will have evolved in five years time. The analysis, which was presented yesterday by the President of the CES, Francesc Obrador, and the head of the Commission which drew up the study, Vincente Tur, shows the Balearics for the first time on the Competitive Position Index (IPC). This is drawn up from a comparison of the trends indicated by the IPC and from the interchange of currency between the islands and the rest of the destinations. This index reveals that the Balearic position, in comparison to the rest of the holiday destinations analysed, improved by 3.8 percent during the first quarter of 2005 after some years of losing tourists due to the rise in the rate of exchange of the euro against the dollar. The study highlights, via the predictions of the experts, that Turkey and Croatia will have a big increase in the number of tourists they attract, in direct competition with the Balearics. The actual scale of competition from Turkey in relation to the Balearics, taken on a scale of 1 to 10, is 7.3 although it is expected that this will reach 9.8 in 2010. By the same token, Croatia will go from 6.2 to 8.9 in the same period while Bulgaria will go from 5.5 to 8.2 and Brazil from 2.5 to 4.1. Tur explained that this analysis had been done via a questionnaire. This questionnaire was given to several experts in the sector, such as the director of the Balearic Institute of Tourism (Ibatur), Raimundo Alabern, and the director general of Air Berlin for Spain and Portugal and President of the Promotion of Tourism, Alvaro Middelmann. Among the 15 experts consulted there were also representatives from hotel chains, companies from the marine sector, the Spanish Association of Airlines (AECA) and the Balearic Travel Agents Association (Aviba). The scale was developed using the Delphi method, from the coordination of the scores given in consideration of such things as prices in hotels and other accommodation, the occupation of tourist establishments, treatment of tourists, transport infrastructures and cleanliness. For Tur, this report is a warning to the tourist sector to make more of an effort to hold on to their position on the IPC to maintain the competitiveness of the Balearics. The analysis was published by the CES from the data collected by the Catalonia Institute of Statistics.