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AAA Predicts Great Summer Tourism Season

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DETROIT (CBS Detroit) It’s going to be a great Fourth of July holiday season for the tourism industry in Michigan.

A representative for AAA Michigan said they are projecting a 16 percent increase in residents traveling this holiday season, a welcome statistic for the $17 billion industry.

“This is a good summer tourism season,” said Nancy Cain, a spokeswoman for AAA Michigan, adding, “July 4th is the pinnacle of the summer tourism season.”

AAA Michigan reports that most Michigan residents will be traveling in-state.  Any locations near water or state parks throughout the state are popular summer destinations.  Of course, Mackinac Island and Traverse City are always vacation hot spots.

“Frankenmuth is the top destination, then Detroit – but just for a weekend getaway – then Traverse City, Mackinac city and Mackinac island,” said a spokeswoman for AAA Michigan.

A large cause for the increase in travelers is due in part to July 4 falling on a Wednesday.

“A lot (of people) are taking a whole week,” said a spokeswoman for AAA Michigan.  “Fifty-four percent start their trip before the July 4 week.”

AAA Michigan is projecting that residents will be traveling a greater distance – almost 150 miles more than in 2011.  Even though the distance traveled will be greater, the median amount of money spent per person in Michigan is down slightly from 2011.  Travelers are estimated to spend $749 per person.

The seven percent drop in spending may be a result of decreased spending on hotels and an increased participation in cheaper, outdoor summer activities.

“More people are staying with friends and family,” Cain said.

The increase in tourism also means an increase in traffic.

“Towing will be busy the whole week.  Make sure your vehicle is ready with a good battery and good tires,” Cain said.  “It’s important to be well-rested and avoid distractions like texting, which is illegal, and avoid alcohol with driving.”

The increase in amount of travelers, along with long holiday week, shows that confidence in the economy is on the rise.

“It’s a win-win for everyone,” Cain said.

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