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“Staycation” is dying; Hopeful signs the economy is recovering

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Derry Township, Dauphin County – During the Great Recession, the term “staycation” became very popular.  But now, the “staycation” is being replaced by vacations, a small sign the economy may be improving.

On a beautiful day like today, it’s normal for Hersheypark to welcome between 30,000 and 40,000 visitors.  This is a destination for people from all across the northeast.  It’s also a destination that is seeing its best season in years, this as the economy seems to bounce back.

Hersheypark has been a destination for millions over the years.  From coasters to chocolate, fun seems to be around every turn.

“It’s a great family outing,” said Angie Perkins from Rising Sun, Maryland.

The Perkins family made their way up from Maryland to take on the coasters.  But today is a little different.  Instead of making it a day trip, the family is staying over the night in the sweetest place on earth.

“You get to take a break.  You get to go out and have fun and do our thing without the hassle of work,” Perkins said.

But that’s a new trend.  According to a recent survey, 83 percent of Americans are going to travel away from home this year, up from 30 to 50 percent during the Great Recession.

“There is so much to do here, there is something for everyone,” said Kathleen McGraw from Hershey Entertainment and Resorts.

Offering a family fun environment is the goal at the Hershey properties.  But almost as important as the fun is a keen focus on the traveler’s bottom line.

“What we hear from guests, whether it’s in a tough economy or a good economy, at the end of the day everyone just wants value,” McGraw said.

Hershey Entertainment and Resorts offer different value packages which combine room, food, tour and park tickets. The idea is to get people in the door, while offering them the chance to see and do as much as possible.  The end result has been one of the best seasons in years.

“The properties have been doing great.  We are weather based and we have been so fortunate that the last several weeks have been absolutely beautiful,” McGraw said.

And that beautiful weather continues today.  Hershey officials say this week’s amazing stretch of weather has helped balance out a rainy beginning of the season.  In the end, nice weather equals smiling happy customers and a profitable season.