Local News

Despite High Gas Prices, Visitors Plan To Flock To Beach

Posted May 27, 2004

— The surf is up at North Carolina beaches as well as gas prices. So far, visitors are willing to ride the wave of rising fuel.

"We've been monitoring this very closely, and we are very happy. We can't see there's an impact," said Judith Grizzel, of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Cape Fear Convention and Visitors Bureau said people are driving to the beach even from out of state. But once they get to the coast, they may not be spending. Unlike prices at the pump, they expect discretionary spending to drop.

Kim McDaniels and her daughter are from Detroit and they are spending a week in Wrightsville Beach. She said she is watching every penny on vacation.

"It is a bummer," McDaniels said. "I can't spend as much as I want to because I have to think about gas."

The most common visitors to the Cape Fear coast are people who live in North Carolina. Ginger Atkinson and her family takes many day trips to the beach. She is willing to pay $30 in gas for a day at the beach.

"It's a good time with the kids. It's a beautiful day," she said.

State tourism leaders said the mountains are also expected to have a good turnout this weekend. They said bookings in Boone and Asheville are very strong even with strong gas prices.

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