H-CENTRAL COAST

Oct 3, 2013 1:41 AM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Closures of National Parks could affect local tourism

The federal government shutdown has led to the closure of all national parks. Some local travel boards said the shutdown could start affecting tourism on the Central Coast. The shutdown isn't just affecting the park workers, who aren't getting paid, but think of the tourists who want to visit Yosemite, the Channel Islands, or the Los Padres National Forest. If those destinations are closed, then bars, restaurants, gas stations, and hotels on the Central Coast take a hit. Stacie Jacob, the executive director of Visit San Luis Obispo County said tourism is such an important economic driver in our community, and believes the national parks are a part of that equation. She said she certainly hopes the closures of the national parks don't change people's minds to come visit the Central Coast. "So we haven't necessarily felt any effects right here in San Luis Obispo County yet, but I assume at a longer the shutdown occurs, the longer these kinds of important aspects will have an effect on the tourists overall. We know that the tourists coming to California and doing their California road trip, Yosemite for example, is a major stop along the way," said Jacob. She said international guests, in particular tend to stay longer if they have plans to visit big monuments like Yosemite. With Yosemite now closed, that could pan out negatively for tourism, not only on a local level, but a state level as well. Jacob said she believes a solution needs to be found soon, because jobs and economies are being impacted. According to 24th District Congresswoman Lois Capps, the shutdown will cost about $300-million dollars a day overall.

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