CONSTRUCTION and tourism have always gone hand in hand in the Balearics, but up to now tourism has always had the edge over construction as the mainstay of the economy. But Carles Manera, spokesman for the Balearic socialist party (PSIB-PSOE) yesterday questioned the growth of the Gross Domestic Product, as it is “based excessively on construction”:
He claimed that productivity actually dropped by 1.66 per cent last year.
Manera also claimed that the Balearic economy was “growing badly” because construction is now the mainstay of the economy, not mass tourism, despite what the Balearic government says. He claims that so far this year, construction has grown by 3.5 per cent, and tourism by just two per cent. And to make matters worse, he says, construction is concentrated on raod works.
Manera warned that growth based on construction is “short-lived” and will fall off once the public works programmes are completed, as tourism no longer has the thrust needed to carry the economy. What is needed, he said, is to adapt growth in construction to the needs of the population, increase productivity, improve the “sun and sand” tourism offer, and back the footwear and food industries. Francesc Antich, secretary general of the Balearic socialists, said that the Partido Popular (PP) is “returning to an old model, ‘balearisation,' which consists of selling off the islands bit by bit” as revealed by their planning policies. Balearic leader Jaume Matas should, he said, tackle the necessary structural changes to strengthen the growth of the Balearic ecomony, draw up a policy more respectful of the environment and invest in research and development. Construction and sustainable tourism are incompatible, Antich said.