Published: Aug 30, 2014 10:49 PM EDT

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. - Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest travel weekends across America, and businesses hope to cash in.

AAA anticipates this will be the best Labor Day weekend in southwest Florida in the last five years.

Fort Myers Beach was packed with tourists Saturday, but while it was tough to stake out a spot in the sand, there was plenty of room in nearby businesses.

"It has been absolutely lousy," said James Tyson, who works at Rudy's Treasure Chest on the pier.  "I had a total of probably $200 in sales for the whole day.  Normally, it's over a thousand."

"It's about the same as any other Saturday night," said Erica Garcia, a server at Citrola's Time Square Grill & Pizzeria.

AAA expects nearly 1.8 million visitors to flock to southwest Florida for Labor Day weekend.  That's a 9% increase since 2010.

While it's hard to know right away whether AAA's numbers are spot-on, the tourists told WINK News they were not in town to spend money.

"We can not afford to have big, fancy vacations," said Donna Blanco, visiting with her family from West Palm Beach. "I'm just a teacher (my husband) is just a police officer. We're very simple people."