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Despite higher gas prices, people are still visiting Utah, according to an Associated Press report.
The average price of a gallon of gas in Utah is $2.91, and the national average is $2.88 a gallon, according to AAA of Utah. Last June a gallon of gas cost $2.11, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
A survey of Utah hotels, campgrounds and RV retailers across the state by the Deseret Morning News found little if any decrease in traveler spending.
According to the Utah Office of Tourism, visits to the state’s national parks were up 2.3% and visits at state parks were up 22.3% in April.
“At the end of the summer it may look differently. We are optimistic,” said Leigh von der Esch, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism.
Parnell Powell, owner of Pappy’s Motor Home Rentals in Midvale, has been renting motor homes for 30 years and for this summer he’s booked until July.
He said gas prices have not affected his business, even though some of his rentals get only 10 miles to the gallon.
However, many of Powell’s customers are going to southern Utah or Jackson Hole, Wyo. They aren’t going to California, and they aren’t going as far as they once were.
That is a common trend. People aren’t traveling as far or for as long, said Rolayne Fairclough, spokeswoman for AAA Utah.
Many travelers also plan to economize on other purchases, such as food. According to the Travel Industry Association (TIA), 52% of travelers who said they would economize this summer are economizing on food. Twenty-two percent of travelers said they may shorten their trip, and 31% will look for an economical destination.
The new look of vacations is not just due to the rising price of gas. The American vacation has been changing for the past 20 or 30 years. Now travelers go on long weekend getaways rather than the one- to two-week family vacations. The average vacation is four days, said Cathy Keefe, TIA spokeswoman.