Columbus economy spikes during 4th of July weekend

By Katherine Kington - email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  The roads were busy this 4th of July but tourist activity on the Gulf beaches was down for the holiday weekend, many families staying home because of the oil spill.

The infamous Highway 431 in East Alabama that takes vacationers from all over the country to the beach, has seen much better days and busier holiday weekends from beachgoers.

Boom Boom Fireworks Superstore, right along the way, say they usually benefit from the drivers heading south for fourth of July weekend. Wanda Lamb from the superstore said, "The traveling to the beaches has been down. We haven't had as much busy traffic but we had a lot of local people, and when I call it local I mean within a 150 miles of here. A lot of local people."

As for the holiday weekend, many people decided, there's no place like home.

Tourism on the Florida panhandle decreased to nearly a third of what it was this time last year.

In Columbus, managers with of the Cannon Brew Pub in downtown say it got crowded Sunday as assistant manager Heather McReynolds explained, "Much busier than we expected.  We definitely expected a crowd but it was a lot more people than we anticipated."

Although the number of people going to the beach for the Fourth was down, area businesses benefited from the families staying home.

©2010 WTVM. All rights reserved.