Low gas prices bode well for local tourism

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This Memorial Day weekend, AAA Carolinas predicts more North and South Carolina motorists traveling than ever before, spurred by the lowest gas prices in more than a decade.

“That’s encouraging for us,” said New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority communications director Connie Nelson said, “because we’re primarily a drive-in destination…most of our leisure travelers are drive-in.”

An estimated 1,051,000 North Carolina and 485,400 South Carolina motorists will travel this Memorial Day weekend, AAA Carolinas’ websites states, which is the highest travel volume on record.

AAA Carolinas also projects an increase in air travel, stating that airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be 26 percent cheaper this Memorial Day.

New Hanover County room occupancy tax collections, which are one measure of local tourism, are up for the first part of 2016, Nelson added.

Travel and tourism in the age of the internet is harder to predict, she said, because in-state tourists especially tend to make last-minute travel plans online. Still, she said, “We feel like we’re on track for another record year.”

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