HAMILTON – Every year, AAA Mid-Atlantic makes projections about how many New Jersey residents will travel during the major holiday periods. Before Hurricane Irene made a mad dash for the beaches along the East Coast, AAA Mid-Atlantic was expecting more than 950,000 New Jersey residents to travel 50 miles or more from home for the 2011 Labor Day holiday weekend. In the aftermath of the storm, it remains to be seen how many folks will venture to shore areas that were evacuated just days ago.
“Now that we have said goodbye to Irene, more than 65 million residents, emergency responders and officials in the storm’s track along the East Coast are evaluating the damage left behind by the storm,” said Tracy E. Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Whether New Jersey residents keep their travel plans or not will depend upon how well they fared during the storm.”
Even before the hurricane, travel was expected to be down from last year. In New Jersey, 962,000 were expected to travel, a three percent drop from 2010. Nationally, travel was predicted to decline 2.4 percent to 31.5 million. Just under 89,000 were expected to fly, a 2.4 percent decline from last year.
“Prior to Hurricane Irene the largest variable in determining Labor Day Holiday travel was economic uncertainty. Now, the variable has shifted to the level of damage that Irene left in her wake,” Noble stated. “It remains to be seen if people will return to the shore area for one last weekend of fun and relaxation or remain closer to home deal with damage and devastation.”
The 2011 Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, Sept. 1 to Monday, Sept. 5.
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