AAA: Florida year-end holiday travel up 35% from 2020, Orlando ranks top destination

ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida is set to see a strong rebound in year-end travel compared to 2020, according to AAA.

The company forecasts that more than 5.9 million people are forecast to travel in the state between Dec. 23, 2021 and Jan. 2, 2022.

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While that’s 4.5% fewer than the record high in 2019, it’s still 35% more than 2020.

AAA said Americans who had to cancel getaways and get-togethers last year because of the pandemic are making up for lost time this holiday season. They estimate that more than 109 million people — an almost 34% increase from 2020 — will travel 50 miles or more as they hit the road, board airplanes or take other transportation out of town between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2.

READ: Tis’ the season for safe holiday travel, tips before you hit the road

That bounce back of 27.7 million more travelers than the 2020 holiday period brings this year’s numbers in line with 2017 figures, and just 8% shy of 2019, which was the highest year on record.

“Americans who canceled their vacations in 2020 want to gather with family and friends for the holidays this year, although they will still need to be mindful of the pandemic,” said Debbie Haas, vice president of AAA — The Auto Club Group, in a statement. “With vaccines widely available, conditions are much different and many people feel a greater level of comfort with travel this year.”

READ: Holiday travel expected to near pre-pandemic travel volumes, TSA says

Many of those travelers are flocking to Orlando. The city ranked No. 1 in AAA’s top U.S. travel destinations for this year-end holiday season.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.