E-Travel Spending Surpasses Pre-War Levels

NEW YORK With the war in Iraq effectively over and summer vacation planning heating up, online travel spending has rebounded with a vengeance.

According to comScore Media Metrix, weekly spending in the online travel category for the two weeks ending May 4 was about $850 million, up nearly 40 percent from the same year-ago period.

As would be expected, Internet travel sales fell off during the war in Iraq. In the six weeks ending April 20, consumers spent about $680 million per week on online travel arrangements. That figure represents an increase of 16 percent versus the corresponding period last year. Conversely, online travel spending posted a 33 percent year-over-year growth rate for the first 10 weeks of the year when sales averaged $710 million.

Since the beginning of the year, consumers have spent nearly $13 billion in travel-related purchases on the Web, according to comScore, making travel the largest category for online consumer spending. ComScore attributed the impressive sales gains—28 percent over last year—to consumers increasingly turning to the Web to search for airfare, book a hotel, plan a road trip or research a destination.