Holiday travel expected to get a bump during long weekend

Tucson International Airport eyes a large turnout for Memorial Day weekend
Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 6:44 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The long holiday weekend is almost here!

Many canceled their trips last Memorial Day and are looking to travel again.

KOLD News 13′s Wendi Redman took a look at the flight predictions out of Tucson.

Raymond Pramuka, an avid traveler, said the pandemic put a pause on his trips.

“We had two cruises scheduled last year, one to Antarctica and one to the Baltic and they both canceled,” Pramuka said.

Pramuka said he’s ready and he’s not the only one. More people are booking flights, especially for the Memorial Day weekend and Fourth of July.

Take a look at these departure numbers from Tucson International Airport.

The Memorial Day weekend will start a recovery, but they expect to surpass pre-pandemic numbers during the Fourth of July weekend.

Memorial Day Weekend

  • 2019: 23,044.
  • 2020: 4,672.
  • 2121 forecast: 16,096.

4th of July Weekend

  • 2019: 17,187.
  • 2020: 7,291.
  • 2021 forecast: 17,294.

Bruce Goetz is the Chief Operating Officer at Tucson International Airport. He says he’s seeing improvement outside of the holidays as well.

“As far as the number of people coming through screening every day since about late March, all of April, and this far through May we’ve been about 70% of normal,” he said.

A big hit right now is with business travel in Tucson.

“That has really been down but the leisure travel has really taken off and so the airlines are moving those planes out of those higher temp business markets and are putting them where the leisure passengers want to go,” Goetz said.

Ryan Hansen is helping to fill those flights. He’s the president of Bon Voyage Travel in Tucson. He says people are so excited they’re booking well in advance.

“Most people don’t plan their Christmas vacation this far in advance or even a year in advance for a summer vacation typically but what in the world is typical these days,” he said.

The other interesting travel trend Hansen is seeing is more bucket list vacations.

“Europe or longer international trips, people are still looking at possibly next year,” Hansen said.

As for Pramuka, he and his wife are excited to check off some destinations on their bucket lists as well.

“The cruise to Antarctica is a bucket list for both of us and we’ve now been waiting for that,” he said.

If it’s been a while since you’ve flown, this Memorial Day weekend you’ll notice big changes at the Tucson airport.

They spent around $300,000 on safety and hygiene.

There are acrylic shields at the counter, social distancing spots on floors and chairs, UV sanitizing systems on escalators, toe kick buttons on elevators, and you may see workers with backpack disinfectant sprayers.

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