Group Planner: U.S. Gov’t Shutdown Affects Charters, Group Travel


 

Midnight on October 1, 2013 officially marked the first day of the United States federal government shutdown. The failure of the government to enact appropriations or resolutions for the 2014 fiscal year caused more than 800,000 federal employees to be furloughed and all of America’s national parks and monuments to be closed. The shutdown has the likely potential to cost the US economy billions of dollars.

The shuttering of popular tourist destinations such as Yellowstone, the Smithsonian, and Gettysburg battlefield will negatively affect plans of charter operators and tour groups in varying degrees from minor speed bumps to complete road blocks. During the shutdown of 1995-96, an estimated 7 million visitors had to deal with adjusted and incomplete itineraries as they were forced to alter their travel plans due to closures.

Today, more than 400 federally-funded national parks and museums are locked, barred from visitors. Tourists still travelling to these locations will be greeted with roped off entries, guarded facilities and instructions to turn back. The first day of the shutdown, a charter group of elderly World War 2 veterans made national news when they did not heed the newly mandated injunctions and pushed aside barricades to enter the WWII memorial in D.C.

It remains unclear whether increased enforcement would need to be exercised at closed locations if the shutdown persists. Coast to coast, popular attractions are no longer open for business: Alcatraz in San Francisco and Yosemite National Park on the West to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island in New York and the Washington Monument on the East.

All federal government websites are down during the shutdown, including the National Parks website. A full list of national parks can be found here, with national monuments indexed here. CNN is presently maintaining a live grid of all federal services which indicates present status.