U.S. Travel Association Expecting Memorial Day Boon
Travelers looking to shake the rust off a long, harsh winter and take advantage of lower gas prices are expected to spend a record amount of money this weekend while getting away for Memorial Day, according to economists at the U.S. Travel Association.
Using data from the Automobile Association of America (AAA), which predicts that 37.2 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles this weekend – the highest in 10 years – the U.S. Travel Association estimates that translates to an average of $330 per person in activity for the U.S. economy, or about $12.3 billion total.
"Gas prices are low, the economy is getting better, and people have money to spend and places to go," U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement.
While Dow said that this was “great for business and great for the economy,” he used the occasion to again emphasize a need to address the growing infrastructure problems in this country.
“Our economy—and therefore our ability to create jobs—won't continue to see the benefits of these periodic travel spikes unless we fix our surface and air travel systems and keep people moving the way they want," he said.
Dow pointed to recent research from U.S. Travel finding that travel-heavy holidays are greatly imperiled by lack of advancement on infrastructure.
"Our research shows that within a decade, the average daily traffic on many of nation's busiest highways will be equal to Labor Day, traditionally one of the most-driven times of year,” he said. “There's similarly bad news for our largest airports, many of which are already experiencing Thanksgiving-like passenger volumes a day or two during the average week. Our roads and skies are nearly busting at the seams, and as the economy improves we're only going to see the number of travelers increase. With many of our national transportation policies set to expire this year—some within just two short weeks—we encourage policy leaders to look to long-term solutions to address these capacity concerns and support legislation which provides for a sustained and robust infrastructure, keeping travelers on the move and our economy thriving."
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