US government shutdown causes tourism concerns for hundreds of US cities

New York, Manhattan, Williamsburg, New Jersey and the Hamptons are among seven popular destinations affected by the shutdown Countries across America have officially announced they will welcome US tourists after the partial US government…

US government shutdown causes tourism concerns for hundreds of US cities

New York, Manhattan, Williamsburg, New Jersey and the Hamptons are among seven popular destinations affected by the shutdown

Countries across America have officially announced they will welcome US tourists after the partial US government shutdown drove out nearly a third of foreign visitors last month.

Tourism chiefs are gearing up for a boost when the government opens its doors again later this month.

Key destinations such as California, Florida, New York, New England and the midwest all announced they were welcoming back visitors.

The two sides in the bitter standoff that has led to the shutdown have been at loggerheads over funding for President Donald Trump’s long-promised wall on the border with Mexico.

Tourism workers at the Statue of Liberty warned that the tourist industry would lose up to $1bn in revenue because of the shutdown, which has officially lasted 30 days.

Other cities affected by the shutdown include Manhattan, Brooklyn, Williamsburg, the Hamptons, New Jersey and the state of Illinois.

About 137,000 foreign nationals stayed away from the country in August because of the shutdown, according to a report by the National Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus. A shutdown occurs when funding for a federal agency ceases to be available, often lasting several days or weeks.

The agency said that in fiscal 2018 foreign tourism spending in the US was $120bn.

“Whether it is simply a phone call, flight or tourism conference booked, everyone we represent has been preparing to welcome visitors back into the country,” said Chris Heywood, NACVB’s director of external affairs, in a statement.

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Mona Nemeloh, who oversees the state of Georgia’s tourism marketing, said the state was encouraging inbound visitors.

“We wanted to make sure that we started the process of incentivising people to come to the states again. That didn’t happen. But there are lots of things that we have on our schedule,” Nemeloh said.

Representatives of another popular destination, the Grand Canyon, told Reuters they had not seen a significant effect on business.

Tourists visiting the country were also encouraged to remember to stay respectful, following the stop-and-frisk policies of the New York mayor, Bill de Blasio, who was seen walking around the city freely without any identification badge.

Many travellers expressed disappointment with the lack of information offered by the United States on how the shutdown would affect their summer travel plans.

Trump and Democratic leaders have been unable to agree on a bill to fund the federal government. Funding lapsed on 12 September, causing multiple government departments to fall behind schedule.

The government opened for business on 19 September after Trump agreed to sign a bipartisan bill that contained temporary funding for the departments of education, housing and urban development, interior and labour, plus the national parks and the Smithsonian museums.

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