TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – People are looking to take one more trip before the unofficial end of summer.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic many people changed where they’ll go on vacation and what activities they’re willing to do.
“Nationally, and in Kansas, travel has been down overall, but the people who are travelling this summer and this Labor Day weekend, the vast majority of them are travelling by roads and highways,” said Shawn Steward, AAA Kansas spokesperson.
That trend is impacting destinations in Kansas, some in a good way.
“We have new users that’s never been in our state park systems before,” said Linda Lanterman, state parks director for Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism.
If you’re taking a trip by car, AAA Kansas said Labor Day gas prices are at their lowest price in four years. Kansas ranks 10th lowest in the nation.
“Lot of people are really just looking for ways that they can travel in their own vehicles, maybe get out to some wide open spaces, whether that’s campgrounds or lakes,” Steward said.
Instead of flying or a taking cruise, some people are visiting tourist spots in the region for a shorter vacation. But many are also looking for something to do in their own backyard. They’re finding out what state parks have to offer, from camping, hiking, swimming, and boating.
In a down year, travelling locally can help boost the Kansas economy.
“They’re still going to have some tourism impact, and that is getting gas or buying groceries before they go, and I think we’ve all been able to see that in our numbers,” Lanterman said.
Officials said getting to parks is a great way to stay safe during the pandemic without having to travel across the country.
“We can’t necessarily say we’re going to bring tons of people in from out of state, Kansas is in a red zone ourselves right now, so you have to be careful about the tourism part of it, but we still think close to home places are good, and it’s all part of tourism,” Lanterman said.