Chinese tourists affected by US govt shutdown

Updated: 2013-10-02 09:49


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LOS ANGELES - On the first day of US federal government shutdown, a Californian resident may not feel the impact, but many Chinese tourists are sad and their tour guides are nervous.

Tony Lu has run a travel agency in Los Angeles for 20 years. Four tourist groups from China's mainland organized by his agency are currently travelling around the United States. They are suffering different kinds of impact of the federal government shutdown, which led to the close of 401 national parks, Smithsonian's 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoo.

"Compared to the 1995-1996 shutdown, this time is more serious to us. We run mostly Chinese market business and there are much more Chinese tourists groups now than 17 years ago," he said.

"Our clients are complaining. The tour guides explained to them that even the US President Barack Obama can not solve the problem immediately," he joked.

Some of the tourist groups have to change their routes as they can not enter the Yellowstone National Park, the Lincoln Memorial, either can they have a close look of the Statue of Liberty, all of which are among the most popular tourism sites.

According to the National Park Services, the 401 National Parks totally have about 715,000 visitors per day in average in October. But now, visitors are turned away.

Although there's no figure yet how many Chinese tourists are affected by the shutdown, some of them are expressing their sadness on the Internet and through mass communication tools.

"I want to cry," wrote Ms. He to her WeChat friends. She waited for a long time for sightseeing in the United States and wished for a perfect tour.

But soon after she landed, she learned that the Statue of Liberty, Lincoln Memorial and some other tourist attractions on her visiting list are closed. The federal government shutdown ruined her trip.

"Nobody will give any compensation to these Chinese tourists. The Senate and the Congress will definately not." said Lu, "And we have to do more to make them feel better, such as explaining the situation to them and helping some of them modify their travel plans. Hope the federal government shutdown ends soon."

Nearly 1.5 million Chinese travelled to the United States in 2012, according to the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries of the US Department of Commerce.

Besides, some Chinese companies doing business in the US may also be affected if the federal regulatory agencies and other servicies can not resume work soon.