Travel bargains abound despite economy

January 25, 2009 5:40:03 PM PST
In another sign of the times, the country's travel industry is bracing for a tough year.

Would-be travelers turned out at The Bay Area Travel Show this weekend in Santa Clara looking for bargains.

Recession does not necessarily mean stay home.

Thousands packed the Bay Area Travel Show in Santa Clara to book trips and research the hottest travel destinations.

And, despite of the tough economic times, many people in attendance Sunday practically had their bags already packed.

"We're both retired. Yes, we're all watching our 401k go down the tube," said San Jose resident Karen Kruger.

"But, they're also taking about a lot of good deals," added Tom Murphy.

And, there are a lot of deals to be had.

"Right now is really a good time to go because a lot of the vendors, cruise lines and tour companies are offering some absolutely magnificent specials," said AAA Travel Manager Mary Cook.

Even though travel experts expect 2009 to be a year of great travel bargains, not everyone is rushing to book trips. Convention organizers say attendance is down twenty percent this year.

Just this week, officials at Minnetta San Jose International Airport announced they are being forced to cut jobs and defer maintenance projects to keep up with a dramatic drop in passenger travel.

Around the country the travel industry is feeling the pain.

"It's been very tough. We are seeing some smaller businesses in our area close," said Lisa Sesto with the Madera County Visitors Bureau.

The Travel Industry Association is predicting a 1.3 percent drop in leisurely travel this year. Many people who spoke with ABC7 Sunday said they plan to take vacations. They just do not plan to go that far away.

"We are making sure it's in the United States. Nothing out. Trying to be more in the localized area," said Manpreet Kur of San Jose.

That is good news, at least for the region's economy.