Independence Day travel projected to increase over 2009 - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Independence Day travel projected to increase over 2009

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TAMPA, Fla. (June 24, 2010) — Nationwide, the number of projected travelers this Independence Day holiday (July 1 - 5) is expected to increase 17.1 percent from 2009 with an estimated 34.9 million travelers taking a trip at least 50 miles or more away from home, according to AAA's holiday travel projections.

 Last year, 29.8 million Americans traveled during the Independence Day weekend. Travel from Florida is projected to increase 6.2 percent, from Georgia by 11 percent, and from Tennessee by 16.1 percent, despite the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The situation in the Gulf continues to change rapidly and the long-term impact on tourism in the Gulf Coast region is still unknown," said Jessica Brady, manager, AAA Public Relations. "Currently, the majority of Florida's beaches are unaffected, beautiful and open to the public."

AAA has reported inquiries regarding travel to the Gulf Coast, but has not experienced widespread cancellations. Travel in the Gulf Coast region is expected to increase slightly since many travelers visit Florida for reasons other than the beaches such as golfing, theme parks, state parks, shopping, nightlife and to visit family and friends. AAA Auto Club South conducted an oil spill survey to capture traveler sentiment as it relates to Florida and the affects of the oil spill from May 24-28.

The initial survey found most travelers still planned to travel to the state despite news of the Gulf oil disaster. A follow-up survey will field June 24-28 to see how consumer sentiment has changed as news of the oil disaster has developed.

Independence Day weekend remains a predominately auto travel holiday with 31.4 million Americans expected to travel via automobile, or 90 percent of travelers, an increase of 17.7 percent from 2009. Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee are all expected to see increases in auto travelers by 6.7 percent, 11.5 percent, and 16.5 percent, respectively. AAA expects the national average price for regular retail gasoline to be between $2.70 and $2.85 a gallon.

Air travel is also expected to increase nationally by 8.2 percent with 1.56 million air travelers projected versus the 1.44 million who flew last year. Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee are expected to see increases in air travelers by 2.1 percent, 2.2 percent, and 6.8 percent, respectively.

"Overall, travel sentiment for Independence Day weekend is very high compared to last year, when the U.S. economy was in a very different place and Americans felt the strain of the recession," said Brady. "Optimism is high this year for Independence Day travel, as more Americans report they plan to travel this year since they stayed home last year, mainly for financial reasons."

Auto Club South States

Auto Travelers

Air Travelers 

Other (bus/train)

PROJECTED TOTAL

 Florida

1,448,863

67,595

63,739

1.58 million

Georgia

834,641

37,273

38,384

910 thousand

Tennessee

630,771

17,557

16,493

665 thousand

AAA's travel projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm partnered with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has reported on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2010 Fourth of July holiday travel forecast can be viewed at www.AAA.com/news.

AAA Auto Club South, founded as the Tampa Motor Club in 1938, is now the third largest affiliate of AAA, with 78 branch offices serving 4.1 million members in Florida, Georgia, West and Middle Tennessee, and Puerto Rico. AAA Auto Club is committed to traffic safety and transportation advocacy and works to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve travel safety. 

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