Business, Finance & Economics

Tourists arrive but find nobody home as US government shutdown arrives

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Tourists were being dropped off by the busload at the USS Constitution, and some were surprised to hear the ship was closed.

Credit:

Emily Files

Plastic placards were hung on fences and on kiosks across the nation Tuesday: Because of the federal government shutdown all National Parks are closed.

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In Boston, several historic sites barred their gates and shuttered their information centers. 

At Faneuil Hall, rangers hurried to clean out and shut down the visitor center information booth, leaving map-less tourists to fend for themselves.

Phillip Draber, a tourist from Australia, said the government shutdown wouldn't be a "show-stopper" for his visit because "that's not the Australian way of doing things."

Phillip Draber, a tourist from Australia, said the government shutdown wouldn't be a "show-stopper" for his visit because "that's not the Australian way of doing things."

Credit:

Emily Files

Philip Draber from Perth, Australia sat outside taking it all in.

"I just think it's appalling, not my circumstances but all the government employees," he said. "The fact that it's probably very disruptive if you're a business relying on government to do certain things. As much as you believe in capitalism and free enterprise in this country, you also need good governance."

But Draber said he'll continue with his self-guided tour because letting things like government shutdowns stop him is "not the Austrailian way of doing things."

Tourist Marcel Bernhardt from Germany was more sympathic about the shutdown.

"Looking at America," he said, "I think the European point of view is something like, the Americans, it's always the same with these guys. But I think our problems are not so different than yours are."

A few miles down the Freedom Trail at the Charlestown Navy Yard, the USS Constitution is docked. But on Tuesday, America's oldest commissioned naval vessel was behind locked gates. 

Among the many visitors hoping to climb aboard was a group of French tourists, who instead looked at the ship through the fence.

German tourists Christopher Schmeltr and Marcel Bernhardt stand in front of the Faneuil Hall information desk, left empty by the government shutdown.

German tourists Christopher Schmeltr and Marcel Bernhardt stand in front of the Faneuil Hall information desk, vacant of employees due to the government shutdown.

Credit:

Emily Files

Their guide, Jane Greenhood, was fuming.  

"They're absolutely furious and devastated because this is just the beginning of their tour directly from France to Boston today and they're met by the strike," she said. "Furthermore they're going to New York. That means no Ellis Island. They're going to Washington, that means nothing. Then they're going to the west coast to visit the parks and we know how disastrous that is. So they are besides themselves. And, of course, they think we're idiots because we're afraid of a medical system for all. And what are they benefiting from as we are in Massachusetts? A medical system for all."

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    Jeff Lee, a tourist from China, stands outside Boston's Faneuil Hall, where the visitor center is closed and informational brochures are cleared out.

    Credit:

    Emily Files

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    Employees at Faneuil Hall pack informational brochures in boxes, closing the information desk in the visitor center down.

    Credit:

    Emily Files

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    A sign and a banner blocks tourists from the Faneuil Hall visitor restrooms.

    Credit:

    Emily Files

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    The information desk at Faneuil Hall's visitor center was cleared out of brochures, maps, and employees.

    Credit:

    Emily Files

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    The USS Constitution, America's oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat, which is usually open for visitors, was locked behind gates.

    Credit:

    Emily Files

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    Tourists were being dropped off by the busload at the USS Constitution, and some were surprised to hear the ship was closed.

    Credit:

    Emily Files

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    Tourists visiting from China look through the gate blocking the public from the USS Constitution.

    Credit:

    Emily Files

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    A tour bus dropped people off at the Bunker Hill monument, where the visitor center and museum are closed.

    Credit:

    Emily Files

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    The Bunker Hill museum had a small sign in the window saying the facility was closed due to the federal government shutdown.

    Credit:

    Emily Files