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AAA estimates 4 percent increase in Thanksgiving holiday travel

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Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 08:26 AM
TAMPA -

Thanksgiving holiday travel in Florida is expected to increase 3.6 percent compared with a year ago to 2.2 million people, The AAA Auto Club Group reported.

Nationwide travel between Wednesday and Sunday is predicted to increase by 4 percent compared with last year to 42.5 million..

"This is definitely a positive sign for the travel industry," said Brent Hubele, vice president, AAA Travel, The Auto Club Group. "Pent-up demand is likely the dominant factor contributing to the increase in the number of holiday travelers."

Thanksgiving holiday travel is typically less expensive than other travel holidays because of the emphasis on the Thanksgiving meal and gathering of friends and family. Median spending is expected to be $554, a 12 percent increase from $495 last year.

Fuel and transportation costs combine to consume the largest share of holiday spending at 33 percent, followed by shopping at 18 percent and food and beverages at 18 percent.

Auto travelers make up 90 percent of all travelers, with airlines carrying 8 percent of travelers and buses and trains 2 percent.

Thanksgiving air fares were reported to be 20 percent higher than a year ago, with the lowest average round-trip fares for the busiest 40 air routes averaging $212, AAA reported.

Yet air traffic was expected to increase 1.8 percent from last year, AAA said.

Hotel rates for AAA three diamond or mid-range lodgings are expected to increase 6 percent from a year ago, with travelers spending an average of $145 per night compared with $136 last year.

The average distance traveled by Americans during the Thanksgiving holiday is expected to be 706 miles, a decline of 13.5 percent from last year when travelers planned to log an average of 816 miles.


tjackovics@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7818

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