In the months after 9/11, when folks were afraid to get on planes and overall travel took a dip, L.A.-area tourist spots benefited from local residents staying home. That same scenario seems to be playing out this summer with what's being dubbed "Staycations." This time, it's the high price of gasoline and airline tickets that's eating into the travel business. All of which is potentially good news for Disneyland, Universal Studios and other local destinations (tourism is the second-biggest industry in Socal). There's another plus this summer: foreign visitors. The decline of the dollar is making the U.S. a favored destination. The LAT lays it out in a biz section feature:
Reservations by Southern Californians at local hotels are up 9% compared with last year, according to Expedia Travel Trendwatch, and many popular state beach campsites are booked solid for the remainder of the summer. "What we are seeing is a revision of travel plans, rather than cutting them out," said Bruce Baltin, senior vice president of PKF Consulting Corp., which monitors the hotel industry. "Eighty-five percent of travel within California is by Californians, anyway," he said. "Southern California as a whole typically benefits when people are cutting back on what we do."
Sue Pisaturo, owner of Small World Vacations Inc., an online site that exclusively sells Disney vacation packages, said she hadn't noticed any significant change in interest in trips to Disneyland, nor has the agency seen a large number of cancellations. The only subtle shift is in hotel accommodations -- more people are staying at less-expensive hotels outside the resort. "It can mean the difference between going and not going," Pisaturo said.
Another Delta cutback: Expect more elbow room at LAX - but for the wrong reason. Delta is discontinuing nonstop service to 13 cities, including Seattle, Portland and Phoenix. The flights to be halted are operated by ExpressJet Airlines under the Delta Connection name. Along with previously announced cutbacks, Delta will have 60 daily departures out of LAX, down from the current 93. (LAT)