Holiday travel numbers excite Memphis tourism and travel industries

MEM sees most flyers since December 2019
Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 6:07 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A big Fourth of July weekend in Memphis has the tourism industry eager to see the hard data.

Millions of Americans took to the road and the skies for this Fourth of July weekend, and Memphis shared a piece of that pie as a travel destination.

“It was a great Fourth of July weekend for Memphis and Shelby County,” said Kevin Kane, president and CEO of Memphis Tourism. “We’re 10-percent over the national average right now in hospitality visitors to this destination, and we’re going to continue to be strong.”

Kane says it’s a testament to Memphis businesses, both new and old, investing in themselves over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and that the return on investment is starting to be seen.

“If you look at restaurants and hotels and new construction in hospitality that took place in the last year, it was over $1 billion of investment in hospitality, getting ready for the return,” said Kane.

At the Memphis International Airport, the last week of June saw nearly 50,000 flyers coming in and out of its checkpoints, the most flying that’s been seen since the last week of December 2019.

“Coming here was, everything was nice,” said Eula Armstrong, heading back to her home in California. “I have no fear of flying because everyone’s been really nice.”

This was Armstrong’s first flight since the start of the pandemic, visiting family in Helena, Arkansas.

According to MEM, they predicted around 41,000 flyers with them during the Fourth of July holiday period, an average of 7,300 flyers a day during the six-day holiday period.

Numbers from that Thursday and Friday showed a slight uptick of a 7,600 daily flyer average.

“You look at Memorial Day, a lot of parts of the country still hadn’t gotten the green light. Now, everybody’s got the green light, and that’s enough to get people moving in large numbers,” Kane said.

For Brian McNeary, he’s been on several flights and has felt safer each time.

“I feel like everyone does a good job of masking up to make everyone feel safe,” said McNeary. Every flight I’ve been on, everyone did a good job of wearing their mask.”

Both say they’ll be flying more as the year goes on.

“I’m just glad everything is sort of opening back up,” McNeary added.

“I will be taking another trip here to Memphis in October, so I will be back,” said Armstrong.

If predicted accurately, these flying numbers will be double what MEM saw last year during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While numbers still are pending on the actual generated revenue from Fourth of July tourism in Memphis, the overall impression from business owners and consumers alike is that better days are ahead.

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