Tourists paid 3.7% more for meals this June, index shows

WASHINGTON Travelers spent 3.7 percent more for meals during June than they did during the same month of 2006, with checks driven sharply higher by a 4.6-percent year-over-year spike in alcoholic beverage prices, according to new data from the U.S. Travel Industry Association of America.

The TIAA's Travel Price Index showed that drink prices climbed more steeply than the cost of any other travel component except lodging charges, which shot up 7.3 percent from last June. Gas prices, in contrast, fell 1.1 percent from June 2006, and by 3 percent from May 2007, according to the TPI.

Alcoholic beverage prices rose 0.8 percent between May and June of this year, and food prices increased 0.5 percent, for a month-to-month change in food and beverage expenditures of 0.5 percent, according to the data.

The TIAA is a nonprofit organization that represents various components of the travel trade. It develops its TPI in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Commerce.