WASHINGTON (WRIC)—In addition to impacting millions of Americans, the government shutdown is taking a toll on tourists, who are now left with little to do in the nation's capital.
British tourists Bruce Anderson and David Lawrenson have been waiting 20 years to visit the United States. They had hoped to see national parks, the Smithsonian museums and other iconic American sites.
"We feel a bit cheesed off," Anderson said. "I have to express considerable disappointment."
"Not only you can't see it, it's barred and bolted for a long way," Lawrenson said.
The two planned their entire retirement trip months ago, traveling by train from the East Coast to the West Coast, but now almost everything on their itinerary is no more.
"It's all closed down," Anderson said. "We don't know … by the time we get to San Francisco whether we'll have seen the Rockies, whether we'll have seen Yosemite, whether we'll see the Grand Canyon."
The shutdown has left tens of thousands of tourists in Washington, D.C. furious. Many businesses are also frustrated because they're losing money. Some fear those visiting the country will leave with a bad impression.
"We do feel at the moment that we're being told as tourists, ‘We don't care what you do or what you're locked out of,'" Anderson said.
Anderson and Lawrenson say they'll visit the few sites that remain open, like the Newseum, even if they have to pay. As for the rest of their cross-country trip, they hope the shutdown ends before they have to leave the U.S.
"It's cost us $20,000, this trip," Anderson said. "And I don't think we'll come back again."
Anderson and Lawrenson are traveling on government-run Amtrak; they were nervous their train trips would be cancelled, but service is still running. They say if they only see one thing during their trip to America, they hope it's the Grand Canyon. The two will be there Thursday and hope it will be open.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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