AAA Says Memorial Day Travel Zapped This Year for Oregon

AAA Says Memorial Day Travel Zapped This Year for Oregon

Published 05/16/2020 at 8:23 PM PDT

AAA Says Memorial Day Travel Zapped This Year for Oregon

(Portland, Oregon) – There won’t be any sizable traveling around Oregon or the western states for Memorial Day Weekend, according to the Portland office of AAA, as travel restrictions will still be in place and even many counties opening are not ready to receive visitors. Non-essential travel is still discouraged or not even allowed in most states around the U.S., and in most cases international travel is out of the question.

There’s little doubt coronavirus killed the travel industry around the world and in Oregon for the time being. While the holiday is considered the opening of the summer travel season, this year means a rather unpleasant new milestone: for the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast. The annual forecast – which estimates the number of people traveling over the holiday weekend and provides data on people’s trips – will return next year. This summer, AAA expects to make travel projections for the late summer and fall, assuming states ease travel restrictions and businesses reopen.

“Last year, 43 million Americans including 557,000 Oregonians traveled for Memorial Day Weekend – the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes in 2000,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho. “This year, Memorial Day travel volume is likely to set a record low because of the pandemic.”

In early 2020, Oregon was on track to see the 11th consecutive year of growth in the travel industry. According to a Dean Runyon report recently released by Travel Oregon, total direct travel spending in the state during 2019 was $12.8 billion, a 3.6% increase over 2018.

However, while the holiday weekend may be on hold, others are planning future vacations. AAA Oregon/Idaho reports online bookings at show slow and steady increases since mid-April. Many are making plans to see family they could not see during quarantine.

Dodds said driving vacations to local and regional destinations are expected to pick up later in the summer. National parks, state parks and locations that provide an escape from crowds are of great interest. With gas prices about $1 a gallon lower than last year, a driving vacation is relatively budget-friendly. The current national average is $1.86 and the Oregon average is $2.39.

Most Oregon state parks are not quite open yet, but a large rush of openings occurred this week along the south and central Oregon coast, while most of the north coast beach accesses are still shut down. See Oregon Coast Beach Connection for a full and ever-changing list of reopenings on the Oregon and Washington coasts.

Some major attractions in the state have opened up, such as Silver Falls State Park near Silverton and Smith Rock near Bend, as well as a smattering of parks in the Willamette Valley region.