Economy effects on area residents’ holiday travel decision

AAA Mid-Atlantic estimated that 50-mile or more trips among area residents would be down about 2.5 percent from last year.“The economy has been the factor in Wilkes-Barre area residents’ travel decision this year, with fewer travelers for every major holiday,” said Catherine L. Rossi, manager of public relations and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

“The effects of unemployment as well as hits to household discretionary spending have had a definite effect on holiday travel. While we see a slight rebound in travel nationally, locally, residents are still holding back,” Rossi said.

While AAA estimated that travel of 50 miles or more during the Christmas/New Year’s travel period would increase about 3.8 percent from last year nationally, AAA Mid-Atlantic estimated that 50-mile or more trips among area residents would be down about 2.5 percent from last year.

One factor could be gasoline prices. The average price of gas locally last year on Dec. 25 was $1.73 per gallon, compared to $2.60 per gallon on Sunday.

In addition to higher gasoline prices, economy takes a bite out of area residents’ holiday trips. Travelers from the Wilkes-Barre area and across the country are seeing higher airfares and car rental rates, but lower lodging rates for the year-end holidays, according to Rossi.

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