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Boston tourism steady for now, despite government shutdown

Tourists visiting Boston can still enjoy most of the city's famous historical sites despite a temporary shutdown of the federal government, but according to a local expert, a drawn out halt wouldn't bode well for the local visitor economy.

Visitors to the USS Constitution could only get as close as the closed gate Tuesday at the Charlestown Navy shipyard due to the Government shutdown. PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO Visitors to the USS Constitution could only get as close as the closed gate Tuesday at the Charlestown Navy shipyard due to the Government shutdown. PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

Tourists visiting the Hub can still enjoy most of the city's famous historical sites despite a temporary shutdown of the federal government, but according to a local expert, a drawn out halt wouldn't bode well for the Boston tourism industry.

"One of the main reasons people come to Boston and Cambridge is because of historical tourism. There is no question that national parks and facilities play a significant role in people's decision to visit," said Pat Moscaritello, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. "If weeks go by and the federal government still hasn't opened, that could be a real problem."

But just one day into the shutdown, which began at midnight Monday, things were not looking so bad for local tourist attractions.

Just two of the Freedom Trail's 16 sites are closed - the U.S.S. Constitution and Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown - however many tourists, particularly people visiting from outside the U.S., may be discouraged to visit Boston during the shutdown due to the assumption that more spots will be closed.

"There is a lot of confusion, for sure," Moscaritello said. "It's the number one story on national television. I think people think the whole U.S. government is shut down; that everything has just stopped. People are still trying to make sense of what is closed and what's not."

Steven and Linda, tourists from Birmingham, Ala., who asked that their last names be withheld, said the shutdown thwarted their plans to visit the U.S.S. Constitution.

"Maybe we will float by and try to see inside the gates," said Linda as she stood outside the Boston Tea Party Museum. Nearby Bret and Sara, Australians who are in the process of moving to Boston, said the they were getting the know the city while avoiding areas that would be affected by the shutdown.

"We figured we'd just wait until the shutdown ends," said Bret. When asked what he thought of the shutdown, as an outsider, Brett said it seemed confusing.

"It's strange, is what I'd say. I don't want to be offensive, but it's definitely strange."

According to the Bostonusa.com, the following Massachusetts sites are open:

Battleship Cove
Benjamin Franklin statue/site of the First Public School
Boston Common
Boston Harbor Islands- Spectacle and Georges
Boston Massacre site
Copp's Hill Burying Ground
Faneuil Hall
Freedom Trail- guided tours by The Freedom Trail Foundation for more information click here
Granary Burying Ground
King's Chapel and King's Chapel Burying Ground
MA State House
Museum of African American History for more information click here
Old Corner Bookstore
Old North Church
Old South Meeting House
Old State House
Park Street Church
Paul Revere House

The following Massachusetts sites are closed, according to the site:

Adams National Historical Park
Boston African American National Historic Site
Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway
Boston National Historical Park
Bunker Hill Monument and Museum
Charlestown Navy Yard visitor center
Faneuil Hall Visitor Center
John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
The Minute Man National Historic Park
USS Constitution
USS Constitution Museum

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS

 
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