By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THE Balearic tourist industry could be about to witness another significant shift in consumer habits next year and experts have warned the region to be prepared.

Ever since the World Travel Market in London earlier this month, there has been much talk here in Majorca about just how important tourism is to the local economy and that the industry has to realise its value and act accordingly to make sure that next year, the Balearics does not lose out to cheaper destinations in Eastern Europe and North Africa. The credit crunch stakes are going to be too high.

However, Professor Xavier Freixas from the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, has been telling Balearic tourism experts that, while the current outlook “is worrying”, there are grounds for a certain level of optimism.

He maintains that while the middle market may shrink in the Balearics, growth will be seen in the top and bottom ends - the luxury and the budget markets.

As an example, the Professor sighted what has happened in the car industry.
He explained that mid-range car manufacturers like Renault have seen sales fall by ten percent, top of the range vehicle manufacturers such as Porsche are enjoying an increase in demand.

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