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Fourth of July Holiday Travel Forecast

The AAA forecast released today projects the number of Americans traveling this Fourth of July holiday weekend will increase 17.1 percent from 2009, with approximately 34.9 million travelers taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home. Last year, 29.8 million Americans traveled during the same period.

The 2010 Fourth of July holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, July 1 to Monday, July 5. Travel by automobile continues to be dominant mode of transportation as we expect more emergency roadside assistance calls than any other summer holiday.

“While financial markets continue to have volatility related to the European debt crisis, the landscape of the U.S. economy is in a much different place than it was one year ago,” said Glen MacDonell, director, AAA Travel Services. “It is encouraging to see such growth this summer as Americans take to the road to visit family, friends and great vacation destinations.”

MacDonell added, “AAA travel agents continue to report double-digit increases in the percentage of travelers making advanced reservations for cruises, and vacation packages and online hotel bookings via AAA.com are up over last year — all of which are positive signs pointing to an increase in the number of Americans traveling this Fourth of July holiday.”

As the Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico continues, the situation is changing rapidly and the impact on tourism in the Gulf Coast region is still unknown. However, currently most beaches remain open and while AAA offices have reported member inquiries regarding travel to the Gulf Coast, they have not experienced widespread cancellations. Additionally, travelers visit these communities for reasons other than boating and swimming including visiting family and friends, state and national parks, golfing, shopping, dining and nightlife. Therefore, AAA is projecting an increase in travel in states in the Gulf Coast region as well.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research 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. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2010 Fourth of July holiday forecast can be found at AAA.com/news.