AAA projects 84 million Americans to travel between Christmas and New Year’s

Lot of Americans are traveling to Central Florida amid the pandemic

ORLANDO, Fla. – AAA projects that up to 84 million Americans will travel between Christmas and the New Year.

Despite the pandemic, millions of Americans are traveling this holiday season, and a lot of people are coming to Central Florida over the next few days. The theme parks, the airport, and local businesses are expected to get a financial boost.

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This coming as VISIT Florida says tourism was down by 34% between January and September - and they’ve been working to encourage more people to come to Florida.

Airport leaders from the Orlando International Airport expect this Sunday will be their busiest travel day this holiday weekend with more than 44,000 departing passengers, but it’s still down about 50% compared to last year.  We also learned that Orlando International Airport was the busiest airport in the country for departing passengers for the past four days, airport leaders say.

And like years past, many families could spend their holiday weekend at our theme parks.  Universal Orlando reached capacity for several days this week.

As people are enjoying time with their loved ones for the Christmas holiday, News 6 spoke with people along International Drive who chose to travel and spend time in Central Florida.

“Just go to the restaurants, checking out the souvenir stores and hitting some of these little rides,” Michael and Shelly Skofstad from Fort Lauderdale, Florida said.

They told News 6 they wanted to come to Orlando to safely travel and getaway.  

“We’ve been hibernating since the COVID-19 thing too, so we really haven’t been going out.”

We also spoke with Andre Antrassian from Wisconsin who spent the day before Christmas at Top Golf Orlando with his family.

“Get the men out to do something, the girls are out shopping,” said Antrassian.  “Kind of wanted to get out and enjoy a breath of fresh air.”

Meanwhile, Central Florida businesses said they’re welcoming the business this holiday weekend.

Eric Coleman is the Operations Manager at Top Golf Orlando.

“We’re prepared to handle some awesome crowds,” Coleman said.

He said they’re closed on Christmas but hopes to benefit from the weekend business.

“They can come in and have an awesome time and hit some golf balls and celebrate the holiday weekend,” Coleman said.

About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.