WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – With the COVID-19 vaccine available to all adults and summer months approaching, a majority of Americans say they are ready to travel again. Travel experts say road trips will be common this summer. Ahead of that, some towns in Kansas are already seeing more visitors.
According to AAA (Triple-A), about 69 percent of people in the U.S. feel safe traveling again. That’s the highest number since the pandemic began.
“2021 is certainly shaping up to be the year of the Great American road trip once again,” said AAA Auto Travel and Merchandise Managing Director Debra Calvert. “AAA has seen an increase in TRIPTIK requests and we’re almost up to 2019 levels. So people are ready to get out and explore America.”
It’s a trend already seen in Abilene.
“Every single day, I have visitors from out of state stop by our visitors center” said said Julie Roller Weeks with the Abilene Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
Roller Weeks said the town may not be the end destination for out-of-state road trippers, but their attractions draw a lot of people who are already traveling on Interstate 70. Right now, nearly all of those attractions are ready for visitors.
“We’re open for business. “Unfortunately, our Eisenhower museum and presidential library is still closed,” Weeks Roller said. “But our other tourist attractions are open and ready to see visitors.”
For Abilene, a town of fewer than 7,000 people, tourism is the backbone of its local economy.
“The reason we have the businesses we do and the tourism we do is because of the visitors,” Roller Weeks said. “There’s $2.5 million alone spent in our lodging facilities. So, when you think about our gas stations, restaurants and shopping, tourism is a big economic driver for our area.”
When schools begin summer break in a few weeks, Roller Weeks said she expects even more travelers to stop by as they road trip through Kansas.
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