The USS Arizona Memorial visitor center will remain open at least another week as the partial government shutdown is on the verge of becoming the longest in U.S. history.
Tour bus companies, hotels and airlines agreed to pay out more than $50,000 in the latest contribution to keep the National Park Service facility staffed, its bathrooms open, and programs still running, said Aileen Utterdyke, president and CEO of Pacific Historic Parks, a nonprofit that supports the memorial.
She called the gesture “excellent.”
About 800,000 federal workers are furloughed or are working without pay as essential staff among nine agencies that are unfunded with President Donald Trump holding out for more than $5 billion for a border wall with Mexico.
The Hawaii tourism industry is worried that a shutdown of one of the state’s biggest attractions could cause cancellations of trips to Oahu.
“I think that is a real scare to some people and to some of the industry. It does impact the airlines, it does impact the hotels. It’s a trickle-down effect,” Utterdyke said today.
A total of 1.95 million people visited the Arizona Memorial in 2017, just under the 2 million who visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii island.
“So I think that’s the discussion that some of these tour operators and the industry are starting to have, and I know (the Hawaii Tourism Authority) has a voice in there as well … you know — protect your own pocket here people,” Utterdyke said.
The park will remain open through next Friday with a slimmed-down operation at a daily cost of about $7,000, she said.
The partial government shutdown already has cost the state of Hawaii, tour companies, three nonprofit museums in Pearl Harbor, Pacific Historic Parks, hotels and airlines hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Some previously contributed funding to keep operations going, while uncertainty over the memorial’s status hurt others in the form of lost revenue.