Travelers hitting the road, rails or skies this Memorial Day weekend are expected to generate an average of $330 per person in activity for the U.S. economy, according to economists at the U.S. Travel Association.
With major media outlets citing data from AAA that 37.2 million Americans—the highest in 10 years—will travel 50 miles or more for the holiday weekend, that translates to a $12.3 billion direct boost to the U.S. economy.
“Gas prices are low, the economy is getting better, and people have money to spend and places to go," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "That’s great for business and great for the economy, but it amplifies anew the crying needs of our transportation infrastructure. Our economy—and therefore our ability to create jobs—won't continue to see the benefits of these periodic travel spikes unless we fix our surface and air travel systems and keep people moving the way they want."
Dow pointed to recent research from U.S. Travel finding that travel-heavy holidays are greatly imperiled by lack of advancement on infrastructure.
“Our research shows that within a decade, the average daily traffic on many of nation's busiest highways will be equal to Labor Day, traditionally one of the most-driven times of year. There's similarly bad news for our largest airports, many of which are already experiencing Thanksgiving-like passenger volumes a day or two during the average week.
“Our roads and skies are nearly busting at the seams, and as the economy improves we’re only going to see the number of travelers increase. With many of our national transportation policies set to expire this year—some within just two short weeks—we encourage policy leaders to look to long-term solutions to address these capacity concerns and support legislation which provides for a sustained and robust infrastructure, keeping travelers on the move and our economy thriving.”
U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry. In 2020, travel generated $1.5 trillion in economic output and supported 11 million jobs, a drastic decline from pre-pandemic figures. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit ustravel.org for information and recovery-related data.