25 August 2010


CONTACT: For your local media contact visit www.AAA.com/Media

Jessica Brady, manager, AAA Public Relations, (813) 288-7294 office, (813) 532-5327 cell


Overall, more than 1.7 million people are expected to travel in the East South Central region of the U.S.

TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 25, 2010) — Labor Day travel in the state of Tennessee is projected to increase 9.7 percent this year from 2009, with more than 658 thousand Tennessee residents taking a trip of 50 miles or more away from home between Thursday, Sept. 2 and Monday, Sept. 6. Overall, travel in the East South Central region of the U.S. is projected to increase 8.5 percent from last year with more than 1.7 million travelers.

Much like other summer holidays, Labor Day is mostly comprised of auto travelers. This year, more than 629 thousand Tennesseans are expected to travel by automobile, an increase of 9.9 percent from last year. Barring any major tropical storm activity in the Gulf Coast region, AAA expects the average price of regular retail gasoline in Tennessee to be between $2.50 and $2.60 per gallon this holiday weekend. Air travel and travel by other modes are also expected to increase by 4.5 percent and 5.5 percent in the state, respectively.

"Labor Day typically marks the end of summer travel and we’re seeing more people deciding to take one last summer trip before the fall," said Brent Hubele, Vice President, AAA Travel. "This is great news as travel projections are up overall, not only in the state and region, but in the country as a whole."

Total U.S. travel is projected to increase almost 10 percent with more than 34.4 million Americans taking a trip of 50 miles or more this Labor Day weekend. Although the East South Central region is expected see an increase in travel, the year-over-year growth is less than the national holiday growth forecast of 9.9 percent because the region is still fighting back losses in the manufacturing sector which accounts for 12 percent of total employment in the region. 

"The East South Central region has only begun to recover, but the positive momentum building in 2010 will help the region toward a fuller recovery in the future," said Hubele. "The good news is this region is moving in a positive direction from last year with a healthy increase in Labor Day travel."

Tennessee contributes the largest amount of tourism output (42%) in the East South Central region.

States & U.S.
1,502,909 (4.1%↑)
72,099 (2.1%↑)
48,046 (0.9%↑)
1,623,054 (3.9%↑)
854,985 (7.5%↑)
39,993 (2.8%↑)
26,884 (2.5%↑)
921,862 (7.1%↑)
629,301 (9.9%↑)
18,242 (4.5%↑)
11,320 (5.5%↑)
658,864 (9.7%↑)
Total U.S. Travel
31.4 million (10.3%↑)
1.6 million (4.6%↑)
1.4 million (6.9%↑)
34.4 million (9.9%↑)

Median spending increases; average distance traveled decreases
Based on a survey of traveler intentions, the average distance traveled by Americans this Labor Day holiday weekend is expected to be 635 miles, slightly less than one year ago (645 miles). Median spending is expected to be $697 this Labor Day, nearly $50 more than last year when median spending was estimated at $650. Dining (63 percent); shopping (47 percent) and visiting with friends and relatives (43 percent) were named as the three top primary activities by travelers this Labor Day weekend.
Airfares, hotel and rental car rates increase over holiday compared to last year
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares over the Labor Day holiday weekend are expected to increase nine percent from last year with the lowest round-trip rates moving up to $179 for the top 40 U.S. air routes. Weekend daily car rental rates will increase seven percent to an average of $46. Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase six percent from a year ago with travelers spending an average of $139 per night compared to $132 last year. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels can expect to pay two percent more at an average cost of $102 per night.
AAA offers a variety of travel planning tools including free TourBook travel guides and maps for members and the TripTik® Travel Planner, available free to all travelers at AAA.com. Three iPhone apps offer access to AAA products and services on the go. The AAA TripTik Mobile app provides gas prices, directions and information on hotels, restaurants and attractions. The AAA Discounts app, which has been downloaded more than 880,000 times, uses GPS technology to acquire a user’s location and displays nearby AAA Show Your Card & Save® locations. With AAA Roadside, AAA members requiring emergency service can quickly send their location, vehicle description and specific breakdown details directly to AAA. The free apps are available for download at www.AAA.com/Mobile.

AAA’s travel projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm partnered with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has reported on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2010 Labor Day holiday travel forecast can be viewed at www.AAA.com/news.

AAA Auto Club South, founded as the Tampa Motor Club in 1938, is now the third largest affiliate of AAA, with 78 branch offices serving more than 4.1 million members in Florida, Georgia, West and Middle Tennessee, and Puerto Rico. AAA Auto Club is committed to traffic safety and transportation advocacy and works to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve travel safety.