WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — The possible federal government shutdown on Sunday could have a negative impact on D.C.’s thriving tourism industry if museums and other sites run out of funding.
It is unclear if museums like the Smithsonian plan to stay open like they did for a brief time during the 2018-2019 government halt with reserve funds.
But travelers in and out of the DMV are gearing up to alter or change their plans if Congressional leaders do not come up with a deal on Sept. 30 to avert a shutdown.
“It will have a negative impact on tourism,” Rukhsana Hussain of D.C. said as she walked out of a Smithsonian museum. “I feel like you lose [an] opportunity to see exhibits that you don’t get to see in other areas.”
Hussain said she regularly visits museums and national landmarks across D.C. and has been since she was in high school. If the government shuts down, that could be ruined, she said.
“Especially things that are around the area like restaurants, food trucks, everything that builds off of the profit of tourism,” Hussain said.
She said she’s worried about travelers who have trips planned for locations that could be shut down if a congressional deal is not reached.
“It would be kind of sad for people who are coming from other countries not to be able to go in and see that,” she said. “All they’ll be able to see are buildings which are nice but not the same.”
Samantha Jonas, who was visiting from Michigan, said the potential shutdown could have cost her a very expensive trip had it happened next week.
“My trip here – almost close to $1,000. I would be devastated,” Jonas said.
She said she traveled to D.C. to see the museums and the panda exhibit at the National Zoo.
“When the government fights, it’s not them who suffer. It’s the little people,” Jonas said. “It’s really not fair.”
Pene Baxter said she was visiting from California to see the museums and other spots in D.C. She said travelers would be devastated if their trips were curtailed by a shutdown.
“They’d still be able to see the monuments but if they can’t see any museums like Aerospace, American history, the African American museum, that’s the whole point of coming here,” Baxter said.