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Travel, tourism projections looking up

Travel and tourism is the third largest industry for Idaho, and it looks like we will see it pick up this summer for the first time in several years.

The Pocatello/Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce said already this year things are looking up, with an 8 percent increase in travel and tourism-related sales.

When the economy took a downturn, people were driving less distance for vacations, especially with gas prices. Now the Chamber says there is a trend of folks taking shorter trips, but taking those trips more frequently.

“Instead of spending the money on a two week vacation where they fly somewhere, they are taking shorter trips closer to home,” said Birgitta Bright, tourism administrator with the Pocatello/Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce. “They’re traveling from Salt Lake or Boise and just coming up discovering what we have to offer here.”

Hotels usually get booked most heavily in July, and with the three-day July 4th celebration Pocatello is having, folks will be staying in hotels.

Other events in July draw people from all over the nation, like POW/MIA Awareness Rally and Rodeo later in the month, as well as the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Powwow, in the top 100 events held across the nation.

But it’s not just events that bring people to the area. A big draw is Don Aslett’s Museum of Clean.

“It was one of the biggest hits at a convention I went to for tour buses,” Bright said. “Everyone was really amazed at the museum and wanted to bring their tour buses to it.”

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