he last year has been a disappointment for the travel industry including the popular Spanish holiday islands – the number of visiting holidaymakers has dropped sharply and family favourite Menorca hasn’t been spared from the economic downturn.

And it’s not just the overall economy and worry about job security and future prospects that have hit Menorca and the other Spanish holiday islands hard this year – the British pound has slipped again in value against the Euro, sometimes coming close to parity.

Menorca while not exclusively reliant on British tourism, or even to the same degree as for example another Mediterranean island Malta, does still see a high number of British tourists in its overall mix, and the island will be hoping that the British economy improves and the number of holidays in Menorca being taken also improves in 2010 compared to this year.

But there is optimism on the island that 2010 could see a rise in the number of holidaymakers making their way to Menorca for a week or two, and there do seem to be grounds for that optimism.

The chances of a rise in the number of people taking holidays in Menorca next year are increased by the fact that 2009 is a low base to start from, but if Sterling rallies against the Euro that will certainly help, as people return to their favourite destinations instead of deciding upon cheaper options outside the Eurozone such as Turkey and Egypt. It’s election year in Britain next year, and once that is out of the way interest rates might rise, sending the pound upwards.

With the election due in Britain for around May or June, it could come just in time for the summer holidays if people haven’t already booked their trip.

But if the hope of a surge in UK visitors seems to be clutching at straws, and the British and European mainland economies are still not doing well, there is another avenue of tourists that could see a rise in the number of people taking holidays in Menorca next year.

The answer could be a rise in the number of Spanish people visiting Menorca – just like in Britain where this year many people decided to holiday within their own country because of the poor state of the economy, the same is true of Spain, which has also been hit hard by the worldwide recession, and more Spanish people than usual holidayed either on the Spanish mainland or on the Spanish islands like Menorca.

So Menorca could be in a win-win situation. If the economy improves more British people will visit, but if it doesn’t more Spanish people will. The only flaw is if the British economy stays in the doldrums and people holiday at home, while the Spanish economy bounces back and the Spanish people opt more for holidays outside of the country. It needs to see both countries recover or stay as they are for the Menorca holidays industry to benefit in 2010.

From within Spain, Menorca is easily accessible with many regional airports offering flights to Menorca – plus there is the option of driving to Barcelona and getting a ferry to the island, either as a foot passenger or with a car.

Ironically if sterling does stay down against the Euro it could see a rise in the number of Spaniards visiting the UK, while the number of Britons taking Menorca flights declines.

Menorca is confident that the year ahead will see a good number of tourists visit to discover what she has to offer.