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LANGUAGE/IDIOMATIC TOURISM

Agents specialized in linguistic tourism have visited for three days the cultural and leisure offer of the island and have evaluated the conditions to boost the sector in the archipelago. It concludes the I Fan Trip of idiomatic Tourism, organized by ELE USAL Mallorca with the sponsorship of the ATB, Fundació Turisme Palma 365, Tryp Bellver and Air Europa.

After three days of meetings, activities and visits to different tourist sites, agents specialized in European language tourism conclude that Mallorca meets the “ideal conditions” to become an important destination for this type of tourism.

Experts consider that the island is well connected with any European country, has many attractions to enjoy at any time of the year and is safe. All experts have considered that in this sector there is “a long way to go and explore”. These specialists have addressed issues of student mobility in the education sector, European scholarships, Erasmus, groups of young people and adults interested in learning the language, as well as enjoying the charms of the island.

In today’s highly globalized world, travelling to learn the language and culture of a country is a choice of leisure time that is being increasingly chosen not only by travellers, but also students. These trips made abroad have generated language tourism development. Britain is a mature destination in this type of tourism; however, in Spain it´s starting to grow, so it is a destination in development. This stage coincides with an increasing time in a global appeal of the Spanish language and its worldwide circulation.

According to the Spanish Tourism Institute, the main countries that provideTourists to Spain are Germany, the United States and France, although it is expected countries of the European Union, such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, to future students with great interest in learning Spanish. Other very important as potential customers are those formed by the acronym BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China), the four emerging economies. Most of these tourists young people between the ages of 14 and 30 – although it is also the number of people over 55 years of age – combining with the knowledge of the gastronomy and the culture of the environment.

Language tourism is not an original activity of Spain, since countries as the United Kingdom, France or Germany have long been included in their promotional activity, considering it a sub-segment of cultural tourism (Huete,2008). However, in our country, according to data from Turespaña (2008), and FEDELE (2009), has moved from 130,000 idiomatic tourists in the year 2000 to 237,600 in 2007. That is, the increase of this modality of tourism has had an average growth of 9% per year. The reasons for this increase are due to the important communication campaigns carried out, as well as the notoriety that the Internet has had as a search channel of information.