Travel site traffic soars

Traffic to travel Web sites dropped off just after the Sept. 11 attacks, but it has since returned in a big way, with a significant spike last month, Nielsen//NetRatings said.

Airline-backed Orbitz

showed 72 percent growth in unique audience from September through January, while traffic to Travelocity

rose 43 percent and Expedia

recorded a 14 percent increase in visits, the Internet measurement service reported.


American Airlines

showed 20 percent more visits and Southwest Airlines` unique audience grew 17 percent.

Expedia led all other travel sites in the visit count last month with nearly 10.2 million, but rival Travelocity was close behind with more than 9.4 million. Orbitz recorded nearly 7 million visits in January compared to 4 million in September, Nielsen said.

More than 5.2 million visited the Southwest site and American`s drew 4.5 million.

“Promotions and special sales helped the recovery, which was especially noteworthy in January, after the holidays,” NetRatings chief analyst Lisa Strand said in a news release.