Online Travel Players Rebound

NEW YORK — The online travel sector has posted double-digit growth in traffic since September, rebounding from an initial decline after the terrorist attacks. According to the latest report from Nielsen/NetRatings, traffic to Expedia jumped nearly 14 percent since September, with as nearly 10.2 million visitors in January.

Close behind, Travelocity attracted more than 9.4 million visitors, a 43 percent boost from September. Orbitz recorded nearly seven million visitors in January, a 72 percent rise.

Rounding out the list, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines drew in more than 5.2 million and 4.5 million visitors respectively. For Southwest, that represented a 17 percent improvement over September; For American, it meant a 20 percent increase.

“The events of Sept. 11 greatly affected the online travel category, as traffic to travel sites dropped initially,” said Lisa Strand, director and chief analyst, NetRatings. “Promotions and special sales helped the recovery, which was especially noteworthy in January after the holidays.”