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Leisure tourism up in San Diego

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Posted at 1:06 PM, Jul 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-03 20:51:36-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — License plates from all over the country are blending together on local freeways this Independence Day weekend.

The extra traffic might be a bit frustrating for locals, but one local hospitality expert said it's a plus for the tourism industry.

"Enjoy the climate [and] enjoy the people and bike riding. Quite honestly, we're getting ready to go on bike rides and ride around," said Justin Jansen, a traveler.

Jansen is from Arizona.

He traveled to San Diego with his family for the holiday weekend.

Leisure travelers like him are a good sign for the tourism industry especially following the pandemic, according to Robert Rauch who has spent more than 40 years in the hospitality industry.

He said what San Diegans are seeing the most are leisure tourists.

Data shows San Diego ranked third in hotel rates nationally for the week of June 25.

"We've held rate because we're a drive market. We don't rely on air travel even though we have quite a bit of it. The drive travel is still strong despite these crazy gas prices," explained Rauch.

While Jansen chose to stay in an Airbnb rather than a hotel, he said it was easier to drive with his family.

"Arizona is a little over five and a half-hour drive. Honestly, it averages out to be about one hundred bucks here and a hundred bucks there," he said.

Rauch said he doesn't see gas prices negatively impacting the leisure travel market unless it hits $8.00 per gallon.

He also explains not all areas of the travel industry are rebounding as quickly.

“Corporate or business travel, that’s about 20 percent from 2019 and group business, while it’s still down over 50 percent the pace is really strong,” said Rauch.