National study shows most travelers undeterred by economy
CLEMSON — The staycation may be last year’s news.
A national survey conducted by Clemson University and Virginia Tech researchers shows that nearly half (49.4 percent) of Americans intend to make no concession to the poor economy when it comes to this summer’s travel plans. And more than 15 percent actually plan to travel more, taking advantage of special vacation offers and gas prices that are comparatively lower.
Last year, when new economic realities were settling in and gas prices climbed beyond $4 per gallon, larger numbers of Americans made plans to vacation at home or closer to home. The idea of the “staycation” took root.
Only 35 percent of those polled said the current economic situation compels them to curtail plans for vacation travel.
“This really illustrates how important the vacation is to Americans,” said Jeffrey Hallo, assistant professor in the Clemson University parks, recreation and tourism management department. “People told us that they would sacrifice other luxuries rather than give up their travel plans.”
Hallo was part of the multi-disciplinary team that conducted the survey to see how the economy may impact tourism. Others from Clemson were William Norman from the parks, recreation and tourism management department and Cari Goetcheus of the planning and landscape architecture department. Virginia Tech’s John McGee and Nancy Gard McGehee, who led the study, were part of the team that conducted the survey for the National Park Service and Blue Ridge Heritage Inc.
The survey also revealed that those who expect no changes to travel plans are evenly split along gender lines, but among those who intend to stay closer to home this year, 58 percent are women and 42 percent are men.