Shutdown hits SA tourism industry

International visitors turned away from historical missions

Ohio resident Mary Beth Germano wanted to cross Mission Concepcion off her San Antonio bucket list Tuesday, but thanks to the government shutdown she’ll have to come back to see it another time.

“We haven’t been to the Missions yet. We came here this morning and there's no Mission open, sadly to say,” she said.

It was the same story at Mission San Juan where Reynaldo Arredondo found a normally full parking lot vacant.

“I was surprised not to see people here, but I didn’t know why,” he said. “It’s really sad the (government shutdown) is the reason.”

The San Antonio Missions Historical National Park were closed Tuesday morning after Congress failed to reach a budget deal.

Officials at the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau said a shutdown that lasts a few days will be an inconvenience, but a shutdown that lasts for several months could damage the city’s $12 billion tourism industry.

“We are disappointed of the situation and the fact that our national parks are going to be closing,” said the bureau’s Executive Director Casandra Matej. “Of the 28 million visitors that come to San Antonio every year, millions of them go to our national parks and the Missions because it is a part of our history and culture so it could definitely have a ripple effect.”

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