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Budget cuts squeeze tourist attractions in nation's capital

May 3, 2013 at 2:13 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, May 3 (UPI) -- Effects of the federal sequester are becoming readily apparent in Washington, as trash collects in the Mall and museum exhibits are closed, officials say.

With summer tourist season fast approaching, tourism firms are scrambling to find places of interest that haven't been affected by across the board budget cuts, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The initial shock of the cuts came when tours of the White House were stopped. The Smithsonian closed three exhibit areas Wednesday and the traditional Fourth of July concert has been canceled, although the fireworks will be staged.

Full-time staff at the Mall has been slashed from six to one and many rangers at the 14 area parks have been forced to take off days without pay.

Out of concern less well-maintained attractions will keep people from coming, tourism officials have changed their focus. They are instead promoting non-federal tourist spots such as Rock Creek Park and the National Zoo or the U.S. men's national soccer match against World Cup champion Germany in June.

Hotels are attempting to lure Asian tourists rather than conventioneers.

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