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America's Travel Community Tells Their Shutdown Stories

October 4, 2013 - The U.S. Travel Association released excerpts of stories from America's travel community that provide a frontline picture of the damage already being done to America's travel economy by the federal government shutdown. 

"Policymakers must understand that it's not just federal employees that are affected by the shutdown. Entire local economies are built around our national parks and historic attractions," said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow. 

"We're hearing from family-owned businesses who have had no choice but to send their employees home, with no idea when or if they will be able to call them back. And unlike federal workers, these workers have no expectation of getting their back pay when the government reopens."

The $2.0 trillion travel industry represents America's No.1 services export, and has added jobs at a rate three times faster than the United States economy as a whole since 2010, growth that is jeopardized by the government shutdown.

Even though essential travel functions like customs processing, Transportation Security Administration inspections and air traffic control are still functioning, the travel community is hurt by the mere perception that travel to and within the U.S. is uncertain. Dow says that risks destroying several years of gains in economic output and improvements in travel facilitation by the federal government. 

"Already you have countries like Germany telling their citizens to beware of problems and delays when traveling to the U.S.," Dow said. "With so much positive progress in place, our country doesn't need to take steps back in pursuit of welcoming millions of new international travelers. We urge leaders in Congress to realize that the longer this goes on, the worse the long-term implications will be for major portions of our economy." 

“Our guide and outfitter business has been doing nothing but finding ways to re-route tours and cancelling reservations all day because of the government shutdown. We are the oldest continuous concessionaire in these Parks and have been exploring these lands and bringing foreign and domestic visitors here since before the national parks were here. I cannot honor the contracts I entered with my guests because the government has now rendered them null and void." A tour company operator in Moab, Utah



“I was talking with one of the largest European Tour operators. They were very busy calling all of their clients to stop them from boarding the plane from the UK to America. I can only imagine the tourism dollars American businesses will lose from just this one operator who has an international client database of 7 million, and 2.7 million active membership of annual tour purchases. This is much bigger than the Americans who are out of a job that work at these parks. This involves anyone who services these international visitors nationwide." A hotel marketing manager in Florida 

"The winter season is approaching, and our area survives from additional revenue brought in by hunters during the big game and waterfowl seasons, where camping is a key element. Closure of the Oregon Caves caused three separate visitors just today to change their travel plans to a route that does not bring them through Oregon at all." A chamber of commerce official in Oregon 

“Four weddings booked for Yosemite this weekend – booked two years ago – have now been cancelled. How would you like to make the calls to the bride or her dad? How about the family members flying in for the wedding?" President of an association of national parks-dependent businesses

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