Slumping economy not expected to slow Glenwood’s Memorial Day travel |

Slumping economy not expected to slow Glenwood’s Memorial Day travel

John Gardner
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff to the summer season. And in a resort area like Glenwood Springs, it typically translates into the beginning of the summer tourist season as well.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) says that the three day Memorial Day weekend is typically a driving holiday and this year, with the lowest gas prices in years, AAA expects more auto travelers.

Nationwide, AAA projects 27 million people, or nearly 83 percent of all travelers, are planning a road trip. In the Mountain Region, which includes Colorado, AAA projects 2.2 million people will be hitting the road.

This summer AAA does not expect the average price of gasoline to top more than $2.50 per gallon nationwide. On May 20, the national average price per gallon for regular unleaded was $2.33, while Colorado’s average price per gallon was $2.29.

Glenwood’s average price per gallon was already $2.60 on May 20. However, that is a $1.38 drop from Memorial Day prices in 2008, when gas prices were around $3.98 per gallon.

“Many people did not take a vacation last year and they’re not going to miss out two years in a row,” said AAA Colorado Director of Travel Services Sandra Barnes. “Exceptional travel deals and lower gas prices have Americans feeling better about taking a trip this summer.”

More people hitting the road means more people staying in local hotels.

Glenwood Hot Springs Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Kjell Mitchell said that the Glenwood Hot Springs is completely booked for the weekend, but being booked for Memorial Day weekend is not unusual for the lodge.

However, Mitchell said that people were waiting to reserve rooms much later than usual.

“Bookings were closer to the arrival day than usual,” Mitchell said. “They didn’t book three months ago, but were rather booking about one month out instead.”

It’s Mitchell’s experience that weather impacts attendance more than gas prices have in the past.

“If we are going to have really sunny days and warm weather, we will do well,” Mitchell said.

While a lot of the area residents won’t be booking hotel rooms, they will be traveling, too. However, they may be taking advantage of the oasis closest to home.

According to Janice Zielinski who works in the Welcome Center at Rifle Gap Reservoir, which is run by the Colorado State Parks, the reservoir saw more locals all last summer, and she expects the same this year.

“Because of the economy the local residents are utilizing more of the local parks,” Zielinski said.

Zielinski said that the reservoir and Rifle Falls were both booked by Wednesday.

“We are booked solid,” she said. “It should be a good weekend for boating, camping, and we are just expecting a good weekend.”

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

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