More Floridians will hit the road and the skies for the upcoming Labor Day weekend, according to AAA. But the projected 3.9 percent increase over 2009 is less than half the rise in travel expected nationwide.
"Florida unemployment plays a role along with the gulf oil spill," said Jessica Brady, spokeswoman for AAA Auto Club South in Tampa. "It's a not-so-hardy increase, but it's still good to have an increase."
AAA forecasts that more than 34.4 million Americans will take a trip of 50 miles or more away from home between Sept. 2 and Sept. 6, up nearly 10 percent from the 2009 Labor Day weekend. The South Atlantic region should see a 7.7 percent jump in travel, slightly lower than the projected national growth number because of fallout from the oil spill, said AAA Travel vice president Brent Hubele.
"The impact of the gulf oil spill has resulted in more travelers changing their destination from the gulf to other areas rather than causing massive amounts of cancellations," he said.
Some Floridians who usually spend the weekend on Panhandle beaches are going to Central Florida attractions or beaches on the East Coast and South Florida, Brady said.
Overall, more than 1.6 million Floridians are expected to travel for the long weekend, with more than 90 percent driving, AAA said.