Holiday travel boosts business

Local News

ERIE, Pa. — Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season.

AAA projected that more than 39 million Americans would travel 50 miles or more over the holiday weekend, which are the most Memorial Day travelers since 2005.

“We’ve come from a little bit west of Chicago–our son lives out there–and going back to Bennington. This is our overnight,” said George French of Vermont.

He said it is the ideal location to rest up, because “it’s halfway. It’s good coming back. It’s good going out.”

Presque Isle State Park was a popular destination for visitors and locals. The peninsula attracts four million visitors a year.

Justin Kita, of Erie, was back home from college in Missouri.

“This is my second or third weekend back. So, I just came here to play some volleyball and have fun,” he said.

“We just like the beach here,” said John Sienicki of Shamokin, about 60 miles northeast of Harrisburg.

“Obviously in the middle of PA, there are no beaches. So, we just like to come here for the nice weather and all that.”

Nearby, Sara’s Restaurant was packed with customers.

“Presque Isle is just a magnet. It attracts people from all over,” said owner Sean Candela.

“We see more and more New York license plates, more and more Ohio license plates. It’s just growing. I think people are really enjoying the peninsula.”

Other people also noticed the crowds and activity.

“There’s a bunch of people out here. It’s busy, but I love it,” said Bret Hulick of Erie.

“People out here enjoying the weather, enjoying the state park we have. People other places don’t have the beaches and the beautiful scenery that we have. So, it’s awesome that people are out here are enjoying it.”

In 2014, tourists who stayed overnight in Erie County pumped more than $941 million into the economy, according to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office.

Presque Isle State Park was one of the main attractions.

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