The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that U.S. outbound air passenger traffic in June increased 11 percent compared to June 2009, marking the sixth month-over-month increase in outbound air travel.

Here are the increases to specific regions through the first six months of this year: Middle East: up 30 percent Oceania (Australia and New Zealand): up 18 percent Africa: up 17 percent Asia: up 10 percent Mexico: up 8 percent Canada: up 6 percent Caribbean: up 4 percent South America: up 1 percent

Although travel to Europe increased 11 percent in June over the same month a year ago, it decreased 1 percent for the first half of the year. Similarly, travel to Central America increased 5 percent in June but was down 3 percent in the first six months of 2010.

View the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries U.S. departure data tables that provide monthly estimates of U.S. air travel abroad at the OTTI Web site.

Airfares on the Rise
Those additional travelers are paying more for their flights, according to the North America Business Travel Monitor for the first half of 2010, released by American Express Business Travel. The report shows an average international airfare at midyear 2010 of $1,768, an 8 percent increase over the average fare at midyear 2009.

As for hotels, while the BTM showed the midyear average international booked hotel rate at $230, a decrease of 2 percent as compared to midyear 2009, the report also notes that June showed the highest average rates so far this year and that cities such as Amsterdam; Athens, Greece; Madrid; Rome; and Zurich marked increases in the average business traveler rate paid in the second quarter.

The American Express BTM benchmarks the average prices paid for air, hotel, and car rentals for hundreds of global business travel destinations through analysis of the American Express database of travel booking and payment information. The BTM includes both average published and business traveler purchased airfares captured across hundreds of domestic and international routes. The methodology for the average airfare paid is the one-way price paid by all travelers booked through American Express Business Travel, including taxes and fees, for all routes. Average booked hotel rates, both international and domestic, represent the total spending of all American Express Business Travel clients, excluding taxes, divided by the total number of room nights confirmed.