Shutdown Cost Small Tourism Businesses Millions

government shutdown costs tourism

A U.S. debt default has been averted and many federal agencies have reopened. But at least one group of small businesses won’t recover so easily from the weeks of government shutdown.

No, it won’t be small businesses waiting on Small Business Administration backed loans. Critics have pointed out the SBA helps fewer of the smallest businesses who really need it than many Americans realize.

And it’s not even federal contractors. Sure, waiting for money over the shutdown likely caused an inconvenience. Still, most get paid per contract once the government starts operating again. That’s according to National Federation of Independent Business economist, Bill Dunkelberg.

No, one of the hardest hit groups may be small tourism and related businesses. This is particularly true of the businesses located around the 401 National Park sites closed during the shutdown.

Government Shutdown Costs Tourism: Park Lost More than $33 Million

Estimated losses around one large national park alone are staggering. Businesses within 60 miles of the 800 square mile Great Smoky Mountains National Park may have missed out on $33 million in visitor revenues.

And that’s just in the first 10 days of the shutdown, economist Steve Morse of Western Carolina University told CNN Money.

Unlike federal contractors, for example, these businesses never see revenues replenished when things get back to normal. When tourists cancel vacations, the money to local businesses for the season is lost permanently.

Grand Canyon and Statue of Liberty Open for Business

That’s why state and local funding was used to reopen the Statue of Liberty in New York City and Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona during the shutdown, reports Bloomberg Radio.

Projections showed six rafting businesses at Grand Canyon alone would have lost a combined $1 million in the final weeks of the 2013 rafting season.

That’s not counting restaurants, hotels and other lodgings, gas stations, outfitters and many other businesses serving the tourist industry.

Many Washington politicians say they support small businesses – but what do their actions demonstrate?

Shutdown Photo via Shutterstock


Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends and a professional journalist with more than 20 years experience in traditional and digital media for trade publications and news sites. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and managing editor for the Berks Mont Newspapers.

7 Reactions
  1. The government seems to find new ways to get in the way of SMBs every time I turn around.

  2. I still can’t believe that we allow our government to openly fail at their jobs on a daily basis and, even though they cost each and every one of us money, we still turn out to vote for them. If our American soldiers failed at their jobs, they could be killed. And they make a lot less than our government “officials” who can’t seem to balance a budget or even keep their own doors open.

  3. It is true that Govt. has totally overlooked the sphere of small business during this shut down, Where the loss is much more then expected. If proper, adequate steps are not taken towards recovery then we may all say God save America.