NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. tourists will hit the roads, rails and skies this Christmas holiday in their largest numbers on record, enticed by cheap airplane tickets and a growing economy, the country’s largest motor advocacy group said on Thursday.
Approximately 107.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles (80 km) or more from home throughout Dec. 23 through Jan. 1, a 3.1 percent boost from a year previously and the most ever taped, AAA stated in a report.
That would be the sixth successive record high for the holiday season, the Heathrow, Florida-based company stated.
“More costly gas rates are not swaying holiday revelers to remain house,” AAA Elder Vice President Costs Sutherland stated. “We have actually seen the strong economy and growing consumer confidence fuel holiday travel all year long.”
The biggest share of travel, approximately 90.7 percent, will be on U.S. roads. Energy traders view this activity closely since it represents 10 percent of international oil demand.
U.S. motor trips will increase to 97.3 million for this holiday season, the seventh successive yearly boost, AAA said.
The group expects flight to grow by 4.1 percent to 6.4 million journeys, the highest given that 2004 as guests benefit from lower ticket rates.
Air travel now accounts now for 5.9 percent of all travel, following four successive years of share increases, AAA said.
For 2017, vehicle drivers are on pace to break the record for many car miles driven on U.S. roads, helping spur prospective record demand for fuel.
U.S. gas need and automobile miles traveled both set records in 2016. [nL1N1OC196]
Gas costs leapt more than 10 percent after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, peaking on Sept. 8 at an average of $2.67 a gallon. Costs were at $2.45 a gallon on Thursday, up about 9 percent from a year previously, AAA said.
Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn