DENVER, Colo. (KJCT)- A record breaking number of more than 1.96 million Colorado Residents will travel over the course of the Christmas season, spanning from Dec. 21 to Jan. 1. This accounts for Colorado's largest year-end travel volume on file since AAA tracking began in 2000.
"The end of the year wraps up a decade of historic growth for Colorado, and many Coloradans are taking the news in stride, marking the eighth straight year of successive record-high travel volumes for the year-end holidays," said AAA Colorado spokesman Skyler McKinley.
With a breakdown of the 2019 year-end travel forecast, a large majority of Colorado travelers of 1.78 million – will drive to their holiday destinations, joining the ranks of 104.8 million Americans on the road. While close to 120,000 Coloradans will travel by air for the holidays, with 6.97 million Americans taking to the skies in total – the most since 2003. The other 65,000 Coloradans will travel by other means over the holidays, joining the ranks of nearly 3.81 million Americans in total – a three percent increase over last year.
Yet there are national economic factors that will possibly influencing the travel forecast including:
• Despite some near-term wobbles, the U.S. economy continues to grow at a slightly above-trend pace. GDP growth this year is projected at 2.1 percent.
• The national unemployment rate settled at 3.5 percent in November, among the lowest in 50 years. Colorado's unemployment rate sits well below the national average, at 2.6 percent.
• At a national level, strong gains in household sector wealth and solid growth in incomes provide a firm foundation for continued strength in consumer spending, which is expected to grow by 4.3 percent.
• Gas prices steadily declined in November, paving the way for even cheaper fill-ups for the year-end holidays. AAA expects most motorists to see gas prices drop before the new year, with gas prices in Colorado forecasted to drop a quarter or more.
AAA Colorado spokesman Skyler McKinley says "we're lucky to enjoy historically low unemployment and meaningful year-over-year improvements in disposable income and household net worth, and folks are celebrating by hitting the roads and taking to the skies."