Air sales by members of the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) dropped in the last three months of 2011 for the first time since the third quarter of 2009.
The quarterly decline of 0.2% was offset by rising sales of rail, hotel and car rental.
Hotel and rail sales in the three months were both up by 3%, while car rental showed a 21.1% rise on the same period in 2010. Total transactions in the final quarter showed 2.8% growth year on year.
The full year comparison against 2010 showed air travel and all transactions up by 5%. Annual car hire business rose by 15%.
GTMC chief executive Anne Godfrey said: “The GTMC final quarter transaction figures are very encouraging and much better than some analysts had warned us to expect.
“Overall annual transactions were 5% ahead of 2010, a respectable increase in the circumstances.
“It is too soon to say what 2012 may hold but the first BSP data in January should make interesting reading.”