María Cruz Rivera is the regional director of CaixaBank in the Balearics and she is "moderately optimistic" about the economy next year. The outlook for tourism activity in 2021, although uncertain, could see tourism GDP return to levels similar to those of 2017.
In general terms for the economy, Rivera says that it is important to study the changing environment and to commit to projects which provide solutions to new challenges. "With each crisis new opportunities arise, and this applies especially to tourism, as it will have to undergo a profound and rapid transformation in adapting to a new profile of post-Covid foreign tourist."
The Balearics has been the region most affected by the crisis. The vast majority of businesspeople on the islands have been harmed because of their high exposure to tourism. Rivera believes that economic injection from Brussels will be necessary in order to reactivate the economy over the coming months.
This reactivation, she argues, cannot be achieved without the "traditional model, which is the tourism one", but it needs to characterised by sustainability which can prevail over just short-term benefits. She acknowledges that there has been talk of economic diversification in the Balearics for years. As for the possibility of reducing the dependence on tourism, she is of the view that this is possible but that it is "very important to support projects and new ideas which promote the development of alternative economic sectors that allow the creation of new jobs".
In the Balearics, she suggests, there is a "great ecosystem for entrepreneurs". "They just need to gain visibility and to present projects which attract the interest of investors and promoters." She accepts that there is a different attitude in Spain to that in the UK and the USA in particular, where failed entrepreneurial ventures are not an obstacle to future and successful ventures. Nevertheless, she says that failure can be part of the business learning process.
Fifty per cent of the self-employed and companies in the Balearics are CaixaBank customers, she observes. This gives the bank a great understanding of business needs, while it also means responsibility when giving advice and when solutions are required as a result of Covid-19.