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The US government shutdown of 2013 was an event that led to significant financial losses for many industries in the country. This shutdown, which lasted from October 1 to 16, happened because Congress could not agree on spending priorities and policies. This led to a failure in passing the bill appropriating funds for the year 2014.
Once the shutdown was in action, federal employees were required to go on leave and only employees offering crucial services continued working.
Since the services provided by federal employees in the tourism sector are not considered crucial, the shutdown led to the closure of all national parks, museums, and other tourist attraction sites under federal control. This paper will highlight the negative impacts that the politically motivated government shutdown of 2013 had on tourism.
Impacts of the Shutdown
The tourism industry in the US is heavily dependent on federal services to operate. The federal government manages the major national parks and tourist attraction sites. It employs the personnel who work in these avenues and maintains the sites. During the shutdown, these tourism sites were closed; therefore deterring tourists from visiting. Hetter reports that the National Parks have a flow of about 715,000 tourists each day (par.5).
As such, over 11million visitors were turned down for the 16-day duration that the National Parks were closed. The White House reports that over $500 million was lost due to the closing of national parks during the 16-day shutdown (11). This amount was what the National Park Service would have obtained as revenue from the visitors who visit the various tourist attraction sites.
In an attempt to reduce the losses suffered by tourism due to the shutdown, State governments opened some of the parks about eight days after the shutdown began. However, this re-opening still failed to attract the high number of visitors who frequent the parks.
During the duration of the shutdown, people were unwilling to make travel plans to the tourist sites due to the uncertainty surrounding the shutdown situation (The White House 11). The decrease in tourist levels was also caused by the fact that most people had canceled their travel plans following the news that a shutdown would occur.
In addition to the revenue lost by the national parks, the communities that live around the national parks and tourist attraction sites also suffered from financial losses. These local communities provide services such as accommodation and entertainment to the tourists.
They rely on the high inflow of tourists to make their living (Hetter par.5). During the government shutdown, there were few tourists visiting since the attraction sites were closed. The local communities could, therefore, not generate income during the period of the shutdown.
This paper set out to discuss the negative impact that the government shutdown had on tourism in the US. People who work in the tourism industry or depend on tourism to make a living lost a substantial amount of revenue during the shutdown.
These losses were caused by the closure of tourist attraction sites and the lack of confidence in federal services. The uncertainty surrounding this situation led to a dramatic reduction in the number of tourists to open sites. The negative impacts of the shutdown made many people angry with Congress for failing to reach a compromise and avoid the shutdown in the first place.
Hetter, Katia. Attention, travelers: Your plans have changed. 1 Oct. 2013. Web. 3 Dec. 2013. <http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/30/travel/shutdown-travel-national-parks/>.
The White House. Impacts and Costs of the October 2013 Federal Government Shutdown. 7. Nov. 2013. Web. 3 Dec. 2013. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/reports/impacts-and-costs-of-october-2013-federal-government-shutdown-report.pdf>.