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Travel & Tourism
Salt Lake City — The summer travel season has begun, and millions of Mountain West residents plan to celebrate the nation’s birthday with a quick getaway. According to AAA’s latest travel forecast survey, just over 3.1 million Mountain West residents plan to journey at least 50 miles or more from home this upcoming holiday. This represents a -0.5 percent decrease from 2012.
“This year, the overall consumer outlook has improved considerably, despite the slight decline from last year,” says AAA Utah spokesperson Rolayne Fairclough. “This anticipated decline is predominantly due to a shorter holiday period than in 2012, when the 4th fell on a Wednesday, making it a week-long vacation period that saw the second highest volume of travel in the past 10 years.”
The 4th of July is one of the busiest national holidays of the year. This year AAA forecasts almost 2.5 million Mountain West residents will drive to reach their holiday destinations. That’s a 0.3 percent decrease when compared to travel figures from 2012. Air travel will increase by only 0.6 percent, with more than 318,000 travelers expected to take to the skies. More than 299,000 state residents plan to travel by other modes of transportation, such as rail, bus and watercraft. This represents a decrease of 2.9 percent when compared to travel figures from last year.
Nationally, AAA forecasts just over 40 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the 4th of July holiday weekend, representing a -0.8 percent decrease compared to last year.
Independence Day holiday weekend airfares are expected to increase by six percent with the lowest round-trip rate averaging $228 per ticket to top 40 U.S. air routes, according to the AAA Leisure Travel Index. Hotel rates at AAA Three Diamond lodgings are increasing by two percent this year, averaging $119 per night. Weekend car rentals are also forecasted to increase by 29 percent, to an average weekend rate of $58. A Mountain West family of four is expected to spend an average of $591 over the weekend, while the average road trip will cover 701 miles.
According to AAA’s survey, the primary leisure activities for Mountain West residents celebrating the nation’s birthday will be visiting family and friends, dining, hiking and biking, touring and sightseeing. Approximately 31 percent of residents said they will be traveling with family members.