By Humphrey Carter PALMA

THE Balearics accounts for a 40 percent share of the country's all-inclusive hotel and resort market and, according to a report released yesterday, they should be seeing an increase in bookings at the expense of the all inclusive resorts in the Gulf of Mexico which has been struck by the BP oil spill.

With waves of crude oil turning the Gulf of Mexico into a no-go area, British holiday-makers are apparently looking closer to home for their all-inclusive holidays.

Holiday booking trends over the past month, which has seen Balearic over night hotel stays rise for the first time in two years, point to holiday makers adapting to the BP spill, with many choosing Mediterranean hot spots like the Balearics and Canary Islands as an alternative destination. “BP might have capped the leak, but we've found that since the disaster, bookings for holidays in the Gulf of Mexico and even the Caribbean have dropped off dramatically,“ says's Richard Bray. “On the other hand, Balearic Islands holidays and Canary Islands holidays have shot up. It's clear that holidaymakers have been scared off by the oil slick.” Holiday makers looking to book a holiday for this summer or even next spring will be looking to predictions on the oil slick's movement, with many experts claiming that it will reach popular holiday spots like the Florida coast and the Keys soon.

Only this week, Balearic hoteliers announced that they are going to start dropping their prices and offering special deals for July and August and if Britons are looking for an alternative hot spot to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, local hoteliers may have made just the right move.

What is more, as the Bulletin reported last week, some of the UK's tour operators are also preparing for a sudden surge in demand for holidays in Spain and the Balearics as Turkey and Greece become over booked.

Monarch, for example, is to soon launch three new weekly scheduled flights, currently operating between the UK and Greece and Turkey, between Gatwick and Palma for the duration of the peak season in anticipation of demand for flights to the Balearics rising sharply. “We've decided to reroute the flights in order to meet what we expect is going to be a sudden rise in demand for Majorca,” an airline source explained.