Over-tourism is a rising concern these days. Tourism acts a double-edged sword where on one side it brings about a healthy source of revenue, but in the process, ends up as a source of inconvenience for the citizens. The Statue of Liberty has addressed this issue with their latest restrictions on tourism.Β By Swastika Mukhopadhyay

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most visited tourist spots in New York City. Situated on the Liberty Island, this UNESCO World Heritage site gets around 4.34 million visitors (as of year 2018). According to statistics received from National Parks Service, which manages the site, the tourists count increased by 600% in the past decade.

So, to reduce overcrowding at the iconic landmark, the authorities decided to ban commercial private tours. Claiming that about 4% of the tourists avail the guided tours service instead of arranging visits on their own, these guided tours take place in large groups that result in overcrowding, leading to blocked pathways and inconvenience in movement.

In a statement to the media, a representative for the Statue of Liberty park said, “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.”Β The representative also added that the new restrictions are no different from the policies existing at other cultural institutions in and around New York.

The new rule states that the commercial guided tours will not be permitted with effect from May 2019. The restricted areas include the interiors of the new Statue of Liberty Museum and the sixth-floor pedestal observation level of the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island as well as inside the National Museum of Immigration at Ellis Island. One exception to the rule stands out that visitors will be given a basic site orientation by guides on days of harsh weather.

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The enforcement of this rule is expected to generate inconvenience for the tour guides whose livelihoods depend on this. Many spoke against the rule stating that they were not given enough time to figure out an alternative path or a backup plan.Β Tour guide, Tom Bernadin, told The New York Times, “This is basically ending my career, if they enforce this.”

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