Remote destinations like Montana and Mount Rushmore as well as states with decreasing COVID-19 cases led the way during the biggest travel event so far in 2020
Travel over Fourth of July weekend was even busier than predicted. Arrivalist predicted 36.8 million Americans would hit the road to celebrate Independence Day, down 11 percent from last year. Actual visitation was down just nine percent over the holiday.
Remote Destinations Draw Visitor
Mount Rushmore was among the top destinations over the Fourth of July weekend. Using its unique mobile-GPS panel, Arrivalist saw visitation to the national Monument increase more than 24% compared to last year. A speech by President Trump and the first fireworks celebration in nearly a decade contributed to the area's draw. Visitors came from a closer proximity this year—the average distance travelled was 390 miles versus 629 last year—a decrease of 38 percent.
Areas with Surge in Coronavirus Cases See Drop in Travel
Road trip travel activity varied between different origin markets across the nation. Resident travel from the states where COVID-19 cases are increasing, for example, was 10 percent below the national average. By comparison, states with low or decreasing COVID-19 cases almost doubled the level of travel activity in those areas compared to Memorial Day weekend earlier this year.
"There were some indications that travelers are choosing destinations in areas with fewer COVID-19 cases over destinations where cases are increasing," said Arrivalist Founder and CEO, Cree Lawson. "Montana, for example, had one of the biggest spikes in visitation over the Fourth of July weekend. That state also leads the country with the fewest reported cases per 100,000 residents."
Different Visitation Patterns than Memorial Day Weekend
In comparing Memorial Day weekend (May 22-25) to the Fourth of July holiday (July 1-4), the following five states recorded the highest increase in road trips:
- Delaware: +108.3% increase
- New Jersey: +104.3% increase
- Massachusetts: +100.7% increase
- Connecticut: +100.3% increase
- New Hampshire: +86.2% increase
Whereas the following five state residents ranked at the bottom of the list:
- Nevada: -2.4% decrease
- Arizona: +6.9% increase
- Texas: +9.8% increase
- Louisiana: +12.6% increase
- Alabama: +14.5% increase
"There has definitely been a shift in travel activity over the last few weeks," said Lawson. "While we saw a surge in road trips from the southern region during Mother's Day weekend, we saw a surge in road trips in New England and eastern states over Independence Day. This may be due to COVID-19's impact in southern and western states."
The Daily Travel Index
The Daily Travel Index is a daily measure of road trip activity (trips by car over 50 miles) taken by residents of all 50 U.S. states, with volume indexed against a baseline of activity established just before the COVID-19 pandemic. Arrivalist's Fourth of July prediction for road trip activity was based upon historical data captured within the Daily Travel Index and takes into account the day of week that road trips occur, seasonality, and the impact of COVID-19 on travel since the pandemic began in March.
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