Southland Labor Day Travel Expected to Stage Partial Comeback from 2009

(LOS ANGELES – Aug. 30, 2010) – Labor Day travel is projected to partially recover from the doldrums of 2009, with more than 2.5 million Southern California travelers expected to take trips this holiday weekend – an 11 percent increase over last year’s 2.26 million travelers, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
The number of local travelers expected this holiday weekend is 3.8 percent below the average number of Southland residents who took Labor Day weekend trips between 2000 and 2009, according to data provided by D.K. Shifflet and Associates, the world’s leading travel and tourism research firm.
Among Southern Californians traveling for Labor Day, 91 percent – or 2.2 million – are expected to drive to their destinations – an 11.6 percent increase over last year’s 1.98 million car travelers. Nearly 196,000 local residents are expected to fly to their holiday getaways – a 5.7 percent increase over last year. A Labor Day trip is defined as a getaway at least 50 miles away from home with an overnight stay.
“Throughout this year, we have seen a steady increase in people making travel plans again,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president of travel products and services. “The continued theme for this Labor Day weekend is that travelers want to make sure they are getting the best possible value for their money.”
The Auto Club is projecting that local travelers will be more likely to drive to their Labor Day destinations than at any time during the past decade. Typically between Labor Day weekends from 2000 to 2008, 80 percent of the total number of travelers got to their destination by car. Last year, 87 percent of total travelers went by car, and this year, it’s expected to be 91 percent.
Statewide, more than 4 million residents are expected to get away this holiday weekend – also an 11 percent increase over last year, and 91 percent of them, or 3.55 million, are expected to drive, while 315,000 are expected to go by air. Nationally, 34.4 million Labor Day travelers are expected, which is a 9.9 percent increase over last year.
The top destinations this weekend for local travelers, according to a poll of the Auto Club’s AAA Travel agents, are:
1)      Las Vegas
2)      San Diego
3)      Santa Barbara
4)      San Francisco
5)      Monterey
Auto Club travel projections are based on national and regional econometric data compiled and by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays.