Tourism

US tourism booms this summer despite record high gas prices

This summer, families are packing their bags, getting into cars and boarding planes without hesitation, even as gas prices hit a new high in the week of June 10 at a national average of $4.97 a gallon.

The main differences this summer are the distances people travel and how they get there.

One study found that 73 percent of Americans are planning summer trips, up 37 percent from 2021.

In this group of travelers, 79% plan to travel by car, and 45% say they plan to fly to holiday destinations.

In other words, holiday driving is a big win this season.

This is largely due to the fact that the consumer price index for airline tickets jumped 25 percent over the past year.

Despite this, the surge in tourism continues despite JP Morgan’s market forecast predicting that the national average gas price could top $6 by the end of summer.

The sun rises over the Atlantic in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (MarynaG/Shutterstock)

Some industry experts attribute this to the number of people who are reluctant to travel after two years of pandemic-related restrictions.

“People wanted to travel [during the pandemic] I also want to travel. They no longer see travel as a luxury. This is essential for the family,” David Lorenz told The Epoch Times.

Lorenz is vice president of Travel Michigan, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

He explained that a new study by Longwoods International found that Americans have suppressed the need for vacations and are now giving it a higher priority in their family budget.

Lorenz added that people are “postponing other shopping decisions this summer to allow themselves to travel.”

The influence of inflation still plays a significant role in vacation decisions.

Lorenz noted that the rising cost of gasoline and other goods has significantly reduced people’s funds for recreation, causing many to seek to see distant places, settling for a closer alternative.

Accessibility is key

For many who prefer to pack their bags and fill their gas tanks before hitting the road, proximity to their destination is essential.

And for popular attractions like the Great Smoky Mountains, located along the North Carolina-Tennessee border, easily accessible from four states, tourists are constantly flocking to resort towns like Pigeon Forge in the foothills of the Appalachians.

“Pige Forge is first and foremost a place to travel by car, and historically — even when gas prices are high — our Smoky Mountain vacation destination is still visited by a lot of people,” Pigeon Tourism Department chief executive told The Epoch Times. Forge Leon Downey.

Downey added that a departmental study showed that many vacationers were planning to stay closer to home this year due to inflation, but that this was unlikely to affect his area.

With convenient proximity to major cities and several states, the Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited national park in the United States…

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