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Travel Numbers Up This Year

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If you’re among the New Mexicans getting ready to leave, have left or already arrived to where you’re going for the holidays, you’re among the 7.1 million residents of the Mountain Region who will travel 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holidays, AAA New Mexico says.

The 7.1 million figure is an increase of 2.2 percent compared with last year, according to a travel forecast issued by AAA.

“It’s a positive sign for the travel industry that so many Mountain Region residents are planning to travel this holiday season,” AAA New Mexico regional manager, Ana Gonzalez said in a news release.

The Mountain Region includes New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

The 11-day, year-end holiday travel period is defined as Friday, Dec. 23, to Monday, Jan. 2.

AAA travel surveys done recently show automobile travel will increase nearly 3.4 percent compared to 2010. It remains the dominant mode of transportation, AAA said. About 6.4 million Mountain Region residents plan to drive to their destination during the holidays.

As for using other transportation modes, AAA reports that: nearly 509,000 Mountain Region residents will fly during the year-end holidays; the rest of the traveling population in the region, or 219,000 Mountain Region residents, will travel by bus, train or cruise ship; and the average distance traveled by Mountain Region vacationers during is expected to be 961 miles round-trip, according to the news release.

Nationwide, about 92 million people will travel 50 miles or more from Friday through Jan. 2, an increase of 1.4 percent more than last year, according to AAA.

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