New York City is known for its countless museums, galleries, restaurants and $1 pizza slices. On average, New York City experiences 63 million tourists every year. But tourists this year will be experiencing a change. National Park Service (NPS) has introduced a ban on commercial tour guides in two of New York’s primary attractions. The ban will start on 16th May.
This will be happening due to the overcrowding that the sites are facing.
Two of the most famous attractions are The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. The ban is on commercial private tours from certain areas including the statue’s sixth-floor outdoor observation deck, the National Museum of Immigration at Ellis Island and the new Statue Of Liberty Museum. Commercial tour guides are still welcome to the islands but not at these particularly overcrowded spaces.
“The restrictions were put in place as a necessary response to the 600% increase in commercial tours over the last 10 years,”
He added, “The massive increase in the tours has resulted in the need to alleviate the mounting overcrowding and conflicts with National Park Service programming and operations. This congestion has led to safety concerns and has severely degraded the visitor experience in the park.”
According to the officials, by imposing this ban they will be able to manage the traffic flow. They also will be able to provide the visitors with a better experience of the place. This is not happening for the first time, similar restrictions are already imposed on other US attractions like the 9/11 Memorial Museum, Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia and also in Alcatraz in San Francisco.
Visitors can still access the area by buying a Pedestal Reserve Ticket from Statue Cruises starting from $18.50. This ticket includes a round trip ferry access and a self-guided audio tour.
The Guides Association Of New York City (GANYC) is not very happy about the new policies. GANYC spokesperson Michael Morgenthal called the ban a “complete overreaction” to a “minor problem.”
He estimates about 250 guides regularly lead tours – in at least 28 different languages – on the islands and fears the new ban will damage their livelihood while increasing pressure on the park’s services.