Labor Day Travelers to Spend $13.5 Billion

(Los Angeles Times/TNS) -

Restaurants, gas stations, hotels and other tourism businesses should have a profitable Labor Day weekend, as U.S. travelers are expected to spend an estimated $13.5 billion during the end-of-summer holiday, a 2 percent increase over the previous Labor Day weekend.

An estimated 35.5 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles for the holiday weekend, with each traveler forecast to spend an average of $380, according to an estimate by the U.S. Travel Association, the trade group for the nation’s travel industry.

The number of travelers expected to hit the roads or take to the skies nationwide is 1 percent higher than in 2014, according to AAA.

One likely reason for the increase in total travelers and spending is the drop in the cost of gasoline.

Across the country, most drivers will pay $2.45 per gallon for regular gasoline, the lowest gas prices for Labor Day weekend since 2004, when a gallon sold for $1.85.

Despite the higher holiday spending numbers, the U.S. Travel Association complains that the nation is not investing enough to maintain roads and airports.

The group’s survey finds that the poor condition of roads and airports will keep 4.1 million potential travelers at home this holiday weekend, costing an estimated $1.4 billion in spending.

“The lack of a long-term strategy for our highways and air-travel system has created the perception for many that they’re better off staying home,” said Roger Dow, president and chief executive of the U.S. Travel Association.