New Jellystone Franchisee Embraces 'Staycation'

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June 29, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

Amid an economic recession, many Americans are expected to take more locally based vacations this summer, which is good news for a newly remodeled Austin, Minn., RV park, according to the Austin Herald

Beaver Trails Park in Austin became a national Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park in April. With Yogi Bear and friends on board the park has already seen about a 20% boost in visitors, owner Laura Tolner said, and hopes to see even more customers over the summer, as people are expected to still travel but might stay closer to home to keep costs down. 

This idea has been dubbed "staycationing" and is something the Minnesota tourism industry is preparing for, Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Cheryl Corey said. 

"People are definitely still traveling, and that's the good news," she said about the trend. 

While longer, extravagant trips might be out, shorter, local trips seem to be gaining in popularity, according to national and state surveys. In addition, people across the country and in Minnesota are expected to book trips closer to the departure date, an indication that more people are being cautious about committing to big vacations. 

All of the talk about closer-to-home travel is certainly good news to Tolner and her Jellystone Park, the first in Minnesota. While she said they do national advertising through Jellystone, the park still has a good amount of local advertising and draws many of its visitors from about a 90-mile radius. 

Tolner said she hasn't noticed a drop-off in visitors due to the economy yet, but said travelers to her camp may decide to bring a tent instead of an RV, or may be coming from Rochester instead of somewhere farther, like California. 

Corey from the Austin CVB said "staycationing" can be a positive for Minnesota, and the state has been marketing itself to attract vacationers who might normally go to Europe of some other distant locale. She added that locally oriented traveling will help Austin, and said the city is a good destination for travelers.

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