The Commerce Department said Tuesday that overall spending on travel and tourism grew 0.6 percent in the first quarter, down from a gain of 2.6 percent in the last three months of 2010. Spending on air travel dropped 9.9 percent in the quarter after rising 3.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, the department said. It noted that passengers faced a 21.4 percent increase in air-travel prices during the first quarter. ¨The decline in spending on air travel was partly offset by a 12.9 percent increase in spending on hotels and other accommodations as room rates fell but occupancy rose. "The slowdown in real spending on tourism reflected a downturn in both domestic and international passenger air transportation as passengers faced higher ticket prices," the department said. Get the full story at msnbc