Travel Baby's Popular Posts

Thursday, May 26, 2011

San Diego remains popular Memorial Day destination

San Diego remains popular Memorial Day destination
By Nick Myers

More Southern Californians planned their Memorial Day holiday earlier this year, a sign of increased confidence in spending on summer travel, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
While Memorial Day travel within Southern California should remain about the same this year compared to last — around 2.62 million travelers — 11.4 percent more residents are choosing to fly rather than drive, says the Auto Club. And San Diego remains a popular travel spot, trailing only Las Vegas among the top five destinations for people living in Southern California, says an Auto Club survey of its travel agents.
“San Diego is a perennial favorite,” said Auto Club spokeswoman Marie Montgomery. “Whatever gas prices are doing, San Diego is a top destination.
Area hotels are seeing stronger numbers for this year’s Memorial Day weekend. Jeff Foster, general manager of the Kona Kai Resort and Spa on Shelter Island, said rooms for Saturday were booked and sold out earlier than they did last year, demonstrating heavier demand.
According to the Auto Club, the trend toward flying for the upcoming holiday mirrors statewide and national numbers. Like Southern California residents, 11.4 percent more Californians overall are expected to fly instead of drive. Similarly, nationwide numbers show an anticipated 11.5 percent increase in air travel over the holiday weekend.
The uptick in airplane ticket sales, which Montgomery said took a hit during the recession, can be attributed to more people planning ahead for their summer holidays without regard for gas prices and an eye toward good deals.
But despite the Auto Club’s numbers showing an increase in air travel, San Diego International Airport’s traffic over Memorial Day weekend remains “roughly the same as last year,” said airport spokeswoman Rebecca Bloomfield.
She added that air travel to Lindbergh Field from airports within Southern California remained correspondingly flat compared to last year, but an increase of 1 percent to 2 percent is expected for the airport next year.
Although gas prices remain high — at about $4.07 in San Diego County, $4.08 in Orange County and around $4.11 in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area — hotel visitors who drive to their destinations are still the dominant guest demographic for many San Diego hotels.
Brian Gipson, corporate director of marketing at The Grand Del Mar, said 2011 is shaping up to be a strong year, especially after recession struggles in 2009 and 2010. The upscale resort has booked more than 80 percent of its occupancy over the holiday weekend, Gipson said, adding that total business levels for this year are much stronger than they were in 2010.
“There’s definitely a fresh wind blowing,” he said. “The health of the business we’re experiencing is very strong.”

No comments:

Post a Comment