The partial government shutdown hasn’t derailed U.S. travel…yet. But foreign countries are now issuing travel alerts to the U.S. because of the government shutdown. In the short-term, we’re seeing logistical issues and, of course, the closure of our entire National Park System.
The long-term impact is unknown, but it could be significant.
The government shutdown has led to furloughs of “non-essential” government employees. That said, the TSA is continuing to screen passengers, air traffic controllers are at their post, and Border Patrol and Customs officers are screening travelers and stamping passports. But the partial government shutdown is having an impact on U.S. travel right now.
“We are concerned that federal agencies will quickly be forced to implement shutdown policies that will damage the travel experience and derail long-term bipartisan investments in our travel infrastructure,” said Roger Dow, president of U.S. Travel, when news of the government shutdown broke.
The UK warns:
“The US federal government began to shut down certain activities on Tuesday 1 October, due to a lack of agreement regarding government funding. Air traffic control, security and immigration processes are not currently expected to be disrupted, but delays may occur.”
This advisory is on top of existing warnings that include “a general threat from terrorism” and “You should be alert to the dangers of car and street crime.”
Germany cautions further about delays (Text translated):
“In the United States, with effect from October 01, 2013, the so-called ‘Government Shutdown’ (administrative arrest) came into force, ie a reduction or partial closure of the government. With the exception of the “essential” classified government tasks rests the work of the U.S. federal government, the U.S. Congress to take a new decision on the U.S. budget. Will not affect the work of air traffic controllers, the U.S. FAA. Even the entry and security checks at airports shall be regular. Travelers should still adjust to longer waiting times at the border. It affects the processing of visa applications, which can result in delays in this area.”
German tourists comprise a significant portion of visitors to America’s national parks. Its government warns:“Travellers to the U.S. must anticipate that U.S. national parks, state museums and public buildings closed until further notice and as destinations within the U.S. national parks that are not reachable.”
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has cautioned:
“Essential US Government services such as law enforcement, customs and border protection and air traffic control will be maintained, but travellers may experience delays at airports. Visitors should be aware that all national parks, monuments and museums are now closed until further notice.”
For more information on the government shutdown and travel, check out:
- How the government shutdown may impact traveler safety
- How the government shutdown is affecting travel industry