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People looking to vacation away from home this summer

Published: 05/19/2010
SALT LAKE CITY -- Staying home is so "last year."

A new survey shows more people are planning to take a vacation away from home this summer, and Utah's tourism industry hopes to benefit from those summer travelers.

Last year, more than 19 million people visited Utah, bringing in $6.2 billion dollars to the state. -Utah Office of Tourism

Last year, a hard economy forced many travelers to give up costly summer vacations, instead opting for cheaper outings close to home -- so-called "stay-cations."

"We stayed closer to home. We didn't go anywhere real extravagant," said Utah resident Matt Peterson.

"I did not travel so much last year," Pennsylvania resident John Gannon said.

This year, things are looking up. The survey, done by American Express, shows more than half of Americans -- 51 percent -- will hit the road this summer.

"Hopefully, I'll be making it over to Tennessee and take a look at the Smoky Mountains," said Florida resident Thomas Kozma.

"[I'd like to] take a vacation to Idaho and do some fly fishing at Henry's Fork," Peterson said.

Strategies to reduce cost of summer vacations

Strategy

General Population

Affluents

Young Professionals

Driving instead of flying to destination

33%

28%

33%

Planning a shorter length of stay

30%

24%

31%

Spending less on activities or excursions

27%

25%

31%

Dedicating more time to bargain-hunting for deals on airfare and accommodations in the research phase of their planning

24%

31%

42%

Using points/rewards for travel

20%

26%

21%

Traveling outside summer holidays

13%

11%

22%

Downgrading on accommodations

12%

7%

17%

Source: American Express Spending and Saving Tracker

According to the survey, travelers will also spend more money and stay away longer than last year.

"I think people are going to get out and enjoy life a little bit more," said Leigh von der Esch, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism.

Von der Esch's office is optimistic about the summer season. The economy is easing up a bit; spending is up and consumer prices are down.

Tourism is big business for Utah. Last year, it brought in $6.2 billion, and more than 19 million visitors. Zion National Park was the most visited national park.

"Utahns and out-of-state visitors can see and do so many things," von der Esch said.

So far, the tourism office is already seeing an increase in visitors to our states' monuments and parks; advanced bookings are also up.

"Utah's great value in lodging, meals, in events -- take in a rodeo, parade, go see the fireworks -- it's all great for family and people looking for fun," von der Esch said.

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