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August 29, 2013

AAA predicts heavy weekend traffic

AAA: Traffic will be heavy this Labor Day weekend

Don’t expect it to be easy to get from one place to another this weekend.

An AAA spokesman said he expects this Labor Day weekend will be the most heavily traveled in New England since 2008.

“It has to do with the economic recovery,” said Pat Moody of AAA of Northern New England. “The indicators we’re looking at all are showing that people are willing to travel.”

Moody estimates 1.2 million people in New England will travel more than 50 miles from home this weekend. That is 4.4 percent more than last year.

“We’ve anticipated an increase due to consumer spending, a lower unemployment rate and an improving housing market,” Moody said.

Tai Freligh, communications manager at the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism, said Labor Day is the second most traveled holiday of the year, just behind July 4.

“We’re expecting people to get in that last beach trip or boating trip this weekend,” Freligh said. “The number of people expected to come keeps growing every year. New Hampshire is a perfect place to take a vacation to. “

Freligh estimates 545,000 visitors will come to the Granite State from out of state, up 1 percent from last year They are expected to spend $78 million, up 2 percent from last year.

Freligh said he especially expects more Canadians to visit New Hampshire, due to tax-free shopping and new higher duty-free limits.

Massachusetts is expecting lots of travelers, too.

“This has been a strong season for Massachusetts tourism, and Labor Day weekend should be great weather and have lots of activity,” said Betsy Wall, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.

This summer, Massachusetts has seen a 4 percent increase in lodging revenue over last summer.

One thing that might not be a factor is gas prices. The average price of gas in New England is $3.62 per gallon, 10 cents lower than a year ago.

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