US spending on travel and tourism rose late last year


In the wake of the worst recession since the 1930s, Americans are taking a little bit more R&R.

The Commerce Department reported that U.S. spending on travel and tourism in the first quarter rose 3.9% from the fourth quarter of last year, at an inflation-adjusted annual rate. Spending on air transportation rose 4.5% while spending on accommodations rose a hefty 11%.

Prices for air transportation rose 13.3% — more than the 7% increase in jet fuel prices over that period. As is clear to any frequent flier who’s lately wedged themselves into a middle seat, many airlines were quick to cut capacity during the downturn, and that may be giving them some more pricing power now.

Prices for accommodation, on the other hand, fell 6.4% — another sign of how a glut of empty rooms is hurting hotels.