News / USA

Tourists Scramble to See Sights Ahead of Possible Government Shutdown

Tourists on the National Mall in Washington
Tourists on the National Mall in Washington

Multimedia

Jeff Swicord

It is a busy time of year here in the U.S. capital, a time when visitors from around the world come to Washington to see the sights, visit the city's many national museums and attend the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  But something ominous is hanging over Washington and the tourist trade.

Springtime in Washington.  The flowers are blooming, leaves are coming out on trees and tourists are returning to museums around the National Mall.  

But with a budget agreement stalled on Capitol Hill and a government shutdown looming, the nation’s monuments and museums may have to close their doors after Friday.  Tourists are scrambling to see the sights.  

Leslee Samuelson and her son Keith from Atlanta, Georgia changed their schedule to make sure they get to see the popular National Air and Space Museum.

“We are going to get it done today and tomorrow, because hopefully everything will stay open tomorrow," said Samuelson. "And if it does shut down it won’t shut down until tomorrow night.”

Vendors and tour guides around the mall also are worried.  Private tour guide Ken Rogoff brought a group of children from Buffalo, New York.  He says the coming weeks traditionally are some of the busiest for the tourist industry each year.

“Well that is very bad," said Rogoff. "We will have to do things that are not government institution.  But they came here to see the nation’s capital because it is their parents’ taxes that are paying for this.  I mean it is so wonderful to have the Smithsonian Institution and have it free.  You know if you go to Italy or France or Spain to the major museums they are very expensive.”

Street musician Jentry McCombs has been playing for tourists on the mall for 30 years. He says the tips are usually good, but he worries about what will happen if there is a government shutdown.

“I will have to have some more private shows, a lot more private shows because right now in the summer most of my income comes from the tourists," said McCombs. “When the United States government shuts down, where is there to go.  Oh, I go to the food bank.”

If there is a government shutdown, many tourists say they will visit some of the private museums around Washington, and seek out other sights.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More