July 4 travel uptick seen by tourism boosters

Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat

The Fourth of July is usually one of the busiest national holidays of the year for travel. Local visitors' bureau officials think this year will be no different, but this year's travel is anticipated to be about 1 percent less than last year's, according to the American Automobile Association.

Lisa Mayo, director of sales and marketing for the Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau, said this Fourth of July is shaping up to be a good one for the county.

Web visits to the bureau are up 13 percent over the same time last year.

Her contacts say reservations and expected business are up for the holiday. She notes that because the fourth falls on a Thursday this year, travellers are inclined to take a four-day weekend.

Lisa Boulton, executive director of the Calaveras County Visitors Bureau, said things also are lining up in her county to make for a busy holiday, with Web visits up 35 percent to 40 percent.

Angels Camp will be celebrating its 165th birthday in September early - on July 4 - and Calaveras County has been buzzing about its recent celebrity visit, "Hotel Hell" host Gordon Ramsay.

According to AAA's latest travel forecast survey, just over 4.7 million Californians plan to journey at least 50 miles or more from home this upcoming holiday. This represents a 0.7 percent decrease from 2012.

AAA blames the decrease primarily on scheduling. Last year, the fourth fell on a Wednesday, encouraging a whole week of holiday. It was the second highest volume of travel in the past 10 years.

This year, AAA projects more than 3.7 million Californians will drive to reach their holiday destinations. That's a 6 percent decrease compared to 2012.

Air travel will increase by only 0.3 percent, with more than 550,000 travelers expected to take to the skies, AAA said.

More than 425,000 state residents plan to travel by other modes of transportation, such as rail, bus and watercraft. This represents a decrease of 3.2 percent when compared to travel figures from last year.

11903457
The Union Democrat
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