MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif., Dec 02, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The under pressure economy has made many Californians wary of travel this Holiday Season, but dropping gas prices could cause them to reconsider in time for Christmas. The good news is that hotels, restaurants and attractions in Monterey County are rolling out the red carpets to welcome them.
Nationwide, the economic decline is causing air travel this year to take the biggest hit with a seven percent drop. But thanks to declining gas prices, car travel is still a viable and cost effective option. As gas prices continue to dip - a gallon of regular gas on average in California costs $2.11, compared to $4.58 in June - traveling by car this December is becoming an increasingly reasonable prospect.
"I think it would be safe to say that if gas prices continue to remain as low as they are or even drop further in the coming weeks," said Celeste White, spokesman for Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau, "that can only bode well for the Christmas drive travel market this holiday season. Travelers are focused on 'staycations' or 'nearcations' and because they offer the ease of travel, the lower gas prices will convince many the luxury of a much needed escape is an affordable prospect."
Gas prices are not the only travel consideration, of course. The economy is certainly in the forefront of everyone's mind. There are indeed factors that are contributing to the lower price of gas and most of that has a lot to do with investment values declining and state unemployment rising to 8.2 percent. The low gas prices have been a silver lining of sorts for many consumers. And while holiday car travel is down, it hasn't dropped nearly as much as holiday air travel which presents a unique opportunity for the holiday traveler.
"Traveling during the holiday season during economically challenging times also presents many opportunities to the savvy traveler," states White. "Those willing to take the time and effort will find that there are many deals to be had right now, as hotels and attractions make grand efforts to fill rooms and seats, by offering packaged deals with room nights, golf, movie tours, aquarium visits, agventure tours, wine tasting, shopping, and holiday meals, all rolled into the timeless atmosphere with the famous backdrop of Monterey Bay."
December - January, visitors can slip into this sanctuary without breaking the bank. Countywide, hotels from Big Sur to Monterey have stepped up with seasonal rates. Add to that the natural rush of nature on parade, world-class wine tasting and a stint with Santa and the season is within reason. More info: www.montereyinfo.org. Come find the destination that is bursting with nature and adventures, traditional and non-traditional festivities and is the perfect place for a quick getaway.
Monterey County boasts 99 miles of prime Pacific Coastline, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, three historic missions, 40,000 acres of premium vineyards, 25 golf courses and nearly 200 lodging properties. Monterey County includes the Monterey Peninsula, Big Sur, North County and the Salinas Valley. The Monterey Peninsula Airport (MRY), just three miles from historic downtown Monterey and minutes from the area's major attractions, is served by non-stop flights to and from Denver (DIA), Salt Lake City (SLC), Las Vegas (LAS), Phoenix (PHX), Los Angeles (LAX and ONT), San Diego (SAN) and San Francisco (SFO). Visitor info: www.montereyinfo.org.
SOURCE: Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau