Hawaii still a top spot
for summer vacation

Travelers will stay close to home
this summer, according to agents

By Lisa Snedeker
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS >> Economic concerns and a desire to stay closer to home mean a rebound is in store this vacation season for U.S. tourist destinations, travel agents say.

That's good news for Las Vegas -- forecast to be the top summer travel destination for Americans -- and for other cities plagued by the post-Sept. 11 tourism slump.

Despite the trend toward not straying far, Honolulu is the fourth-most-popular destination and Maui ranked eighth.

"We're in a recession in Houston, and if I'm worried about losing my job, I'm not going to set off for China," said Joe Galloway, a Houston travel agent. "Instead we're selling the heck out of weekend trips to places like Santa Fe (N.M.) and New Orleans."

Kathryn Sudeikis, a Mission, Kan., travel agent, said her clients now want to take trips to California coastal cities and the San Juan Islands near Seattle.

Travel agents meeting this week in Las Vegas attribute the focus on domestic travel to economic concerns rather than security issues.

On average, room rates vary from 5 percent to 15 percent under 2001, Powers said yesterday during the American Society of Travel Agents Western Regional conference at the Rio hotel-casino.

Top spots

The most popular destinations for summer travel:

1. Las Vegas
2. Orlando
3. New York
4. Honolulu
5. Los Angeles
6. Miami
7. San Francisco
8. Maui
9. Branson, Mo.
10. Seattle

Source: American Society of Travel Agents

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