"In an economy like this there is the tendency to be conservative, but all the data we see suggest that there is nothing that can replace the face-to-face relationship," he said.

Although the online travel industry has held up fairly well in the sluggish economy, there are signs of weakness. Expedia's bookings and revenue have grown at a much slower rate than some of its biggest competitors in recent months.

Three-fourths of Expedia's revenue comes from selling hotel bookings, and that business grew by 16 percent in the second quarter. That more than offset a decline of 8 percent in airline-ticket revenue.

_____

Samantha Bomkamp can be reached at www.twitter.com/SamWillTravel

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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