Staycation? Daycation?

The other day travel columnist and consumer advocate Christopher Elliott penned a piece titled “Six Tips for Taking a Summer Daycation.” And while he admits it’s another ‘silly neologism”  that has been around a few years, he went on to give tips on how to basically spend a few hours or a day exploring your home town and region “but not so far that you have to spend the night.”  Basically, a daycation is what I refer to as ‘leisure time,’ spending a free day visiting a state park or taking in a cultural event nearby. I’m all for people getting to know their home town and enjoying its offerings.  By doing so we become our best ambassadors for our communities.

After sharing some good advice like utilizing your local Visitors Bureau for information, he closes with the statement “I’d like to think the economy is to blame for the daycation trend, but as a consumer advocate, I’m not convinced it’s the only reason. The travel industry has dished out substandard service to us for so many years, it’s little wonder we are reluctant to get out there again. Maybe the service needs to improve before we hit the road. Looks like we’ll have to wait until 2011 for a real vacation. “

Is Mr. Elliott, whose blogs are sponsored by a myriad of travel businesses that rely on overnight and extended travel, encouraging us to stay home? Definitely economic conditions have caused many to revise their travel plans, but I’m for traveling and exploring beyond 20 or 30 miles from where I live now, not in 2011, and I think most Americans are too.  The U.S. Travel Association (USTA) summer leisure travel forecasts predict a 2.3% increase in travel volume of at least 50 miles or more from home this summer compared to last, which indicates that travelers are not sitting still. In addition, their ongoing Traveler Sentiment Index measures quality of service as one of the six indicators and according to a staffer with USTA, “the current index does not indicate any ongoing issues with service quality on a national level.”

I know our level of service and hospitality here in the Yakima Valley of Washington is top notch, much like our wine, farm fresh produce and outdoor fun.  So if Mr. Elliott wants to take a vacation here, he’s welcome to be my guest! And I’ll take a daycation myself to give him a personal tour!

John Cooper
President & CEO

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