Budget cuts hurt some visitor attractions, help others

4-26 MIGHTY MO

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Call it making the most of an opportunity. With federal budget cuts forcing the Arizona Memorial to turn visitors away, other attractions nearby are reaping the benefits.

The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial tour has been one of the most popular tourist attractions over the years, drawing more than four thousand visitors every day.

“This was something that my son wanted to do very much,” said the Jain Family. “We actually came to this island just because he wanted to see Pearl Harbor.”

Tickets to get on the boat to the memorial are free and they’re harder to get than ever. Because of federal budget cuts, the boat which runs every 15 minutes stops running after one in the afternoon instead of 3 p.m.

Park officials estimate that’s about 1,200 fewer visitors to the Memorial every day.

“This is one of the main things we wanted to see when we came to Hawaii and we’re missing out,” said Dan McLean, a visitor from Utah.

An unfortunate circumstance for many.

“We came 2,000 miles to see it, we pay our taxes to see it, so we’re really upset about it,” said McLean.

But it’s also giving a boost to the other attractions nearby like the Battleship Missouri Memorial.

“In March, when the Arizona started reducing their hours we were able to pick up even more business and so this March was the second busiest month we’ve ever had, ever,” said Battleship Missouri Memorial president and chief operating officer Michael Carr.

Carr points out that the Mighty Mo was already having a good year even before the cuts, but the number got even better last month, when the site drew more than 51,000 visitors.

More tourists are also going to another historic site, the Pacific Aviation Museum. Officials point out that after the last boat to the Arizona Memorial leaves, visitors are looking for other attractions nearby.

Still, even those with the Missouri and Pacific Aviation admit it would be best to provide what the tourist came out here to see.

“We know lots of people leave disappointed because they weren’t able to go to the Memorial and that’s not a good thing for any of us,” said Carr.

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