Oregon Holiday Travel Likely Up This Year
(Portland, Oregon) – The AAA is projecting the number of Americans traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday will increase 11.4 percent from 2009, with approximately 42.2 million travelers taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home. This translates to about 13.5 percent of the population being on the road or in the air, as opposed to last year’s 37.9 million Americans.
The Thanksgiving travel period is defined as Wednesday through this Sunday, November 28.
For the western states of Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska and Hawaii, 6.9 million travelers (13.7 percent of the population) are expected to hit the road for the holiday weekend, an increase of 11.3 percent. Economic problems in this region were particularly bad, but with clear signs of economic recovery, demand is expected to be higher for travel and tourism.
“Although many Americans are still very cautious about household budgets and discretionary spending, many are in a better financial position this Thanksgiving,” said AAA Oregon/Idaho Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds. "The Pacific region is clawing its way back to better economic health, and we are seeing greater demand for travel this year.”
AAA Oregon/Idaho Director of Travel Doreen Loofburrow said hotel, car and vacation package reservations are up about 12 percent over last year.
“Our travel agents are reporting strong increases in the number of inquiries, and in the number of people booking trips,” Loofburrow said. “So if you are planning a Thanksgiving trip, make your arrangements as soon as possible if you haven’t done so already.”
Since 2000, the number of travelers over Thanksgiving has ranged from a high of 58.6 million in 2005 to a low of 37.8 million travelers in 2008. 2010 is shaping up to have the seventh highest number of travelers since 2000.
If this year’s forecast pans out – a double-digit increase in holiday travel – it would be a significant upturn in travel volume after slow growth in 2009 and an actual 25.2 percent decline in travel in 2008.
Dodds said this increase still doesn’t make up for the numbers lost in recent years, filling up only half the gap in travelers that have curtailed their holiday jaunts since 2007.
“The economy and the travel industry have yet to rebound to the levels seen during the middle of the decade,” Dodds said.