Most families in Lower Alabama will not take a vacation this summer. If they do, they are likely headed to the beach.
Those are the main findings of the latest News 5/Strategy Research Poll.
36-percent of families say they will vacation this summer. 64-percent won’t.
Still, vacancy rates are miniscule at area beaches. Tourism officials say the only sign of vacation uncertainly is that fewer people are booking in advance.
“It’s been great so far,” said Steve Hayes, President of Visit Pensacola which promotes tourism across Escambia County, Florida. “The only difference that we’ve seen is some shorter bookings rather than booking farther out. But I think that’s probably some uncertainty in the economy but there is still a demand for travel out there.”
The beach is the clear cut destination of those in Lower Alabama taking a summer vacation.
22-percent say they will go to Alabama beaches and 16-percent to Florida or other beaches.
“It was higher than any other segment of vacation destinations that we asked people about,” said pollster Jon Gray.
He says possible reasons for that are proximity and price.
“One of the reasons that they may be going to the beach, right around the corner, is cost,” Gray said. “It’s closer to home. You can get a condo and put several families together. It’s a way to save money. But, Pete, there’s nothing cheap about going to the beach right now.”
Other destinations for those going on vacation: 9-percent say their family will go to the mountains,an equal number to Disney World or another theme park, and 8-percent will spend their vacation on a cruise. 36-percent will be going to visit family or elsewhere.
“So while there’s a lot of people in South Alabama that don’t want to take a vacation right now, there’s a good 40-percent out there that’s looking to go to some pretty impressive locations,” Gray said.
Lower Alabama has about 10-percent fewer families planning a vacation. A similar poll by CreditCard.com shows 46-percent of families nationally will go on a summer vacation.