Statue of Liberty Sets New Rules to Ease Tourist Overcrowding

May 6, 2019

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On the cusp of peak tourism season on Liberty Island, National Park Service officials have decided to set new restrictions that will limit the high-volume foot traffic that usually accrues at one of New York City’s most famous attractions.

The Statue of Liberty, according to CNN, has seen a 600% increase in tourism within the last decade. To prevent overcrowding, officials have decided to ban commercial private tours of the statue. While only about 4% of travelers use these types of tours, the large groups often cause blockage in the statue’s interior by obstructing pathways and exhibits.

“Commercial guided tours add to the congestion in these identified areas and prevent the free flow of visitor movement and impact public programs and the visitor experience,” a representative for the Statue of Liberty Park, a national monument managed by the National Parks System, told CNN in a statement.

The ban on guided services will also apply to the sixth-floor pedestal observation of the statue as well as the Statue of Liberty Museum and the National Museum of Immigration at Ellis Island.

“The new restrictions are no different to policies in place at highly visited cultural institutions in and around New York City such as the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and busy National Park Service sites across the nation including Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia and Golden Gate Recreation Area (including Alcatraz) in San Francisco,” National Parks added.

Some tour guides have been critical about the new policy, telling news outlets that they were not “given time to come up with a backup plan or work on an agreement that suited all parties.” A longtime tour guide told The New York Times that the policy change could be the end of his career.

The new restrictions take effect on May 19, a few days after the new Statue of Liberty Museum, which will feature the statue’s original torch on display for the first time since the 1980s, opens to the public.

Featured image by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images.

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