RETAIL / TOURISM : War’s End Expected to Unleash Army of Domestic Vacationers

Compiled by Chris Woodyard/Times staff writer

Orange County travel agents have been badly in need of a little good news.

Eternally optimistic, the travel agents are predicting that the end of the Persian Gulf War will trigger a pent-up demand among tourists who have been delaying their vacations for fear of terrorism.

At a meeting this week of the Orange County chapter of the American Society of Travel Agents, about 200 agents heard speakers say that vacationers--caught up in the patriotic fervor that has swept the country during the war--may be looking close to home this year. Among the U.S. destinations expected to be popular are Hawaii and Alaska.

Much to the dismay of the beleaguered airline industry, family vacations by car are expected to be popular in the spring-summer vacation season. Agents said that some cruise lines are repositioning their ships to sail from American ports.