By Shirley Roberts

I am fascinated by change and also love to reminisce about how things used to be.  The past, present and future are all part of our lives whether we are comfortable with that or not.

In the tourism world we have watched as the FIT’s took over from corporate tourism.  That’s ‘Free Independent Travellers’ versus the likes of TUI and others who do a great job with mass tourism.  In the past 50 years this has done a full circle and now the FIT’s are considering their options and rather liking the security in travel that the corporates bring. Uncertainty and protecting the deposits and cash paid for holidays have brought back the travel agent.

Then the freedom of travel and the extra holidays enjoyed by this generation changed many things.  50 years ago, a two week holiday in the sun, was pretty well all you got. Now three or four holidays a year plus the odd cheeky weekend is the norm.  So much so that many, when they were in that phase in their lives, decided that a second home in their favourite destination was a new ambition.

When talk happens, as it is doing right now, on the development of tourism in our world I have learnt to look for the clues.  They are always there as to what is going to be the next change. Take weddings for example – a huge industry has developed in Mallorca and many of us became Wedding Celebrants. We had busy summers and created wonderful ceremonies for many people.  Then some Wedding Planners decided they could earn more by having a Celebrant on their payroll.  Overnight the freelance Celebrant became almost extinct. We were there for a snapshot moment in time and now ‘freelance’ is a rarity.

Currently the window to watch is ‘take away’ food.  New ideas and concepts are springing up all over Mallorca and certainly in the Soller Valley.  From Sushi Box picnics on the beach to deliveries of a Chef created, three course menu to your holiday rental villa.

Governments talk the talk every year about winter tourism but the work is already happening from the entrepreneurs who are alive to the latest fashions in our world.  Ashrams, Yoga Retreats, Boot Camps are springing up and attracting the people with money and time from all over the world.  Mallorca is cutting edge in this regard and didn’t need the input of any civil servant to tell them what to do.

The internet nomads have created a whole new world of Nomad Hotels designed for those who stay for months at a time.  The Internet and how it controls the world of work is already into second generation development.  We haven’t seen anything yet.

The pandemic gave us a view into a world where being home based as a family was a challenge for some, divorces were a consequence.  Others absolutely loved it and could see that a work life balance worked for them and so many others.   Some changed their careers so they were able to accommodate life as they now wanted it.

The feudal system in many parts of the world is being challenged.  The ‘rich do what they like and call the shots ‘is being challenged.  If you are rich and your workers get paid the minimum wage or less, your reputation is in tatters. This is a simplistic view but one that is widely held. No-one can be proud of only paying the minimum and in Mallorca we have a problem as the Convenio contracts are largely built around the minimum wage. The idea that workers might be entitled to bonuses or profit share is not gaining much ground. This is the reason for a very troubled work sector who are often looking to moving countries to earn more money to support their families.  The economic migrants of Mallorca have history of doing this in trouble times of the past.  Is this the development of the new reality?

So many questions, so many clues, plus the threat of war in our midst.  2022 is already proving to be a year when the world turned on a different axis. Many will flounder, most will survive and some will be the cheerleaders of innovation and progress.  Interesting times indeed.

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