From beach chairs to cheese balls, to rides and henna tattoos – if you’re planning a visit to the Jersey Shore this summer, get ready to pay more.
The city of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, is under pressure to top last year’s red-hot summer season, which saw visitor numbers surge 24% year-over-year and their spending add more than $20 billion to its economy, according to an Atlantic City tourism report.
But businesses and travel experts fear rising costs and continuing labor shortage concerns could prevent beachgoers and travelers from leaving home during one of the country's busiest vacation seasons.
"We're always welcome for people to come in and apply for a job," one t-shirt shop employee Xavier told FOX Business’ Jeff Flock on Thursday. "Nobody's wanting to come out here and get some work."
"Whether it's gas, hotels, airfare, food, inflation is crazy right now and people are paying it," travel blogger and analyst Lee Abbamonte added.
A report from Longwoods International backs the concerns, finding that soaring gas and everyday prices will force Americans to spend less this summer.
The retail sector is expected to get hit the hardest, seeing 32% of Americans spending less in the category, followed by the entertainment industry at 31%, food and beverage at 22% and lodging at 17%.
As of Thursday, the price of gasoline in the U.S. remained essentially unchanged at $4.60 per gallon, according to latest data from AAA.
Gas prices previously hit a new record-high last Wednesday, shooting up 4 cents overnight following further European Union sanctions on Russian oil.
"Hotels can get away with it. Restaurants can get away with it. Airlines get away with it," Abbamonte explained, "because the demand is there."