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Travel numbers climb as Americans hit the road for holiday – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2021-05-28 11:53:49 –

Americans went out on the road in near-record numbers at the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend.

Americans set out on a near-record number of trips at the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend. Their enthusiasm for freeing them from the containment of the coronavirus has overcome the rise in prices for planes, petrol and hotels.

More than 1.8 million people passed U.S. airports on Thursday, and it was widely expected that numbers would exceed the 2 million threshold on long vacation weekends, the highest since early March 2020. Will be.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned travelers to expect long lines at the airport and begged Americans to show patience on Friday.

The increase in travel seems to be supported by an increase in the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 and an improvement in the economy. The U.S. Department of Commerce said consumer spending increased in April, but not as much as in March, providing more evidence that consumers are helping to recover from last year’s pandemic recession. ..

With the arrival of Memorial Day, some states will lift the remaining pandemic restrictions as the number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths improves. Massachusetts’ mask obligations will be removed on Saturday, and Virginia will relax all distance and number restrictions on Friday.

President Joe Biden traveled to Virginia to celebrate the unofficial start of the summer and the outcome of the fight against the virus during this time when more than 8 million states reported an average of 360 cases per day. I am.

At Miami International Airport, authorities expect about 115,000 passengers per day in the six days to June 1. Spokesman Greg Chin said the number of airports is comparable to pre-pandemic levels. The same is true in Orlando, where airport traffic has reached 90% of pre-pandemic levels and people are gathering in recently deregulated theme parks.

AAA predicts that travel will increase by 60% over the same holiday weekend last year, with 37 million Americans traveling at least 50 miles from their homes, most of them by car. I will. Auto clubs and insurers have made their predictions, despite the highest gasoline prices in the last seven years. The national average is over $ 3 per regular gallon.

Car rental prices have also risen significantly since car rental companies cut down on vehicles to survive last year’s severe travel slump.

“I got a call from my mother-in-law during the holidays and said,’Hey, can you rent a car? I answered’no’,” said Jordan Staab, president of SmarterTravel Media. “Demand has increased by 500% since January and it is difficult to rent a car right now, so plan as early as possible.”

Hotels and other accommodations on the beach and in the mountains are expected to be more crowded than in urban areas. According to Lou Career, president of the Distinctive Hospitality Group, the company’s two hotels in Connecticut’s tourist destinations have seen a surge in bookings since the state relaxed mask requirements two weeks ago. As of March, the occupancy rate is still only about 20%. Boston hotel.

According to the latest data from the Department of Commerce, hotel rates across the country rose 8% in March, then 9% in April, and airfares rose 10% in April.

It does not prevent people from boarding the plane. The Transportation Security Administration inspected approximately 1.6 million people per day this month, starting from 224,000 per day in May 2020.

Most of them travel for vacations or visit family and friends in the United States. Airline executives say domestic leisure travel is back to pre-pandemic levels — Delta Air Lines president Glenn Howenstein said this week that bookings are currently outpacing 2019. T.

However, business travelers and international visitors are still largely absent, and airlines are anxious for a profitable business to return. One of the suggestions for making traveling abroad easier is the so-called vaccine passport. This is an app that shows if a person has been vaccinated or tested for COVID-19.

Homeland Security Secretary Mallorcus told ABC on Friday that the government was “very scrutinizing” the idea. The aviation industry, the European Union and others are working hard to develop vaccine passports to boost international travel and revive the tourism-based economy.

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AP staff writers Frida Frisaro of Miami, Dee Ann Durbin of Detroit, and Martin Classinger of Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021 Associated Press. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written, or redistributed.

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