A Commerce Department report released yesterday shows that despite seven consecutive quarters of increases, spending on tourism is nowhere near its boom-year highs. In the first quarter of 2011, growth in the sector slowed, a shift attributed largely to higher airline ticket prices. Tourism spending increased just 0.6 percent when adjusted for inflation in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Spending on air travel itself was down sharply, decreasing 9.9 percent in the first three months of 2011, compared to the increase of 3.4 in the last quarter of 2010, according to the report. Prices for air travel increased 21.4 percent in the first quarter of 2011. On Tuesday, some airlines like Southwest also started new discounts, according to the AP, so now might be a good time to buy tickets.