As travel rebounds in 2023, several major attractions remain closed or under renovation this year. Popular sites like the Statue of Liberty and Machu Picchu have temporarily paused operations for upgrades and repairs. Other landmarks like Peru's Rainbow Mountain have imposed restrictions to preserve the landscape. While these destinations are off-limits in 2023, travellers can explore excellent alternatives like the NYC skyline or the Inca Trail. With proper planning, one can still craft an incredible itinerary despite some closures.
Below are discussed Tourist sites that were closed due to the pandemic
The iconic Train Street in Hanoi's Old Quarter has been permanently closed off to tourists in 2022. The famous railway surrounded by shops and cafes had become dangerously overcrowded. With trains passing just inches from visitors, safety issues arose. Although barriers are now erected across Train Street, Hanoi still offers atmospheric alleys and French colonial architecture in areas like the St. Joseph's Cathedral vicinity. While the singular Train Street experience is gone, the magic and character of Hanoi's neighbourhoods remain open for exploration.
Los Angeles' acclaimed Underground Museum, founded by Noah and Karon Davis, has temporarily closedits doors as of 2022. Occupying modest spaces in L.A. Bernal Heights, the museum championed artists of colour and served as a cultural hub. Despite celebrity supporters, the pandemic proved challenging, forcing the surprise shutter. While the Underground Museum's future is uncertain, Karon Davis encourages engagement with L.A.'s vibrant arts institutions. Nearby options include the California African American Museum and titans like The Broad and LACMA, though the Underground Museum's grassroots mission remains irreplaceable for now.
After over 50 years, Singapore's beloved Jurong Bird Park will be closing its original site in 2022. However, the park will reopen in 2023 as Bird Paradise, part of the new Mandai Rejuvenation Project. This exciting eco-tourism development will unite Jurong Bird Park with other Singaporean wildlife attractions. While the original location is now closed, nature and animal lovers can still enjoy outdoor gems like the UNESCO-listed Botanic Gardens as they await Bird Paradise's debut. Jurong Bird Park's spirit will continue at the revitalised new home currently under development.
After temporary pandemic closure in 2020, Dublin's Writers Museum has permanently shuttered after over 25 years. Run by Failte Ireland, the museum celebrated Ireland's rich literary heritage but was deemed outdated. However, the new Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) has opened to fill the void. A collaboration between Ireland's national library and University College Dublin, MoLI houses artefacts like James Joyce's Ulysses while spotlighting diverse authors. While the Writers Museum is gone, Dublin's literary culture thrives at the innovative MoLI space honouring both famous scribes and overlooked voices.
Hong Kong's iconic Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant has permanently closed after struggling financially and sinking in 2022. Once the world's largest floating restaurant, the lavish vessel hosted royalty, celebrities, and countless visitors over the decades. However, declining tourism and high maintenance costs led to failed sale attempts before the ageing Jumbo met its end. While the grand restaurant itself is gone, Hong Kong retains numerous landmarks like the Peak Tram and Star Ferry for sightseeing. And remnants of old Hong Kong survive on wooden junk boats like the Dukling, preserving floating heritage after Jumbo's demise.
After 16 years of honouring 9/11 victims, the Tribute Museum in lower Manhattan has closed due to pandemic struggles. Founded by survivors' loved ones, the intimate museum provided a gathering place and hosted personal artefacts donated by families. While the physical location is now gone, most holdings have been transferred to the New York State Museum in Albany. And the National September 11 Memorial & Museum continues telling stories just steps away. Though an important community touchpoint has been lost, the spirit of the Tribute Museum persists through its collections and the tours and memories it leaves behind.
Two popular Tokyo museums, TeamLab Borderless and the Edo-Tokyo Museum, are temporarily closed in 2023 for planned renovations and upgrades. The dazzling digital art extravaganza of Borderless has halted operations to expand and improve the visitor experience. Meanwhile, the historical Edo-Tokyo Museum is getting infrastructure reinforcements as it modernises its facilities. While these landmarks are on pause, Tokyo remains a dynamic city full of cultural attractions to explore, from traditional temples and gardens to cutting-edge art galleries. And when the renovations are complete, both museums will reopen their doors, offering new and improved versions of the inventive exhibits they are known for.
After over a century at its original site, London's Museum of London is relocating to an upgraded home. While the current location on London Wall will close in 2023, the museum will reopen in 2026 as The London Museum in the revitalised General Market. Despite the temporary closure, London has no shortage of historical and cultural attractions to visit, from the Tower of London to The Globe theatre. And the museum's improved future location will be rebranded and more accessible through the new Elizabeth Line at Farringdon Station. While saying goodbye to its long standing building, the museum is set to start an exciting new chapter.
Following a glamorous career as a transatlantic ocean liner, the Queen Mary found retirement in southern California in 1967. Transitioning into a different role, the ship, adorned with Art Deco splendour, embarked on a new journey as a restaurant, hotel, and popular tourist attraction in Long Beach.
However, the passage of time has taken its toll, prompting the need for urgent repairs. Owned by the city of Long Beach, the Queen Mary requires approximately $5 million worth of restoration work to address the accumulated wear and damage. A key concern is the impact of lifeboat weight, which has led to substantial deterioration. These lifeboats will be removed, with the hope of finding a suitable display opportunity within a museum, historical society, or other attraction.
Despite challenges, there is a glimmer of hope. Limited tours of specific ship sections have resumed as of December 12, and the best news is that these tours are free. While many on-board amenities like the hotel and restaurants remain temporarily closed, Long Beach has alternate offerings, including its vibrant downtown and a museum showcasing Latin American art. Meanwhile, the Queen Mary 2, the ship's successor, continues to sail in active service with the Cunard line.
Why are some top tourist sites closed in 2023?
Many top tourist sites have been closed in 2023 due to a variety of reasons, including ongoing maintenance and repairs, renovations, safety concerns, and the impact of global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
How long are these tourist sites expected to remain closed?
The duration of closures varies depending on the specific site and the nature of the work being undertaken. Some sites may reopen within a few months, while others might remain closed for an extended period to ensure comprehensive renovations or address specific challenges.
Are there any alternative attractions available for tourists during these closures?
Yes, in many cases, there are alternative attractions and activities available for tourists to enjoy during the closures. Local tourism boards often provide information about nearby sites, events, museums, and cultural experiences that visitors can explore.
Are there any virtual or online options to experience these closed tourist sites?
Some tourist sites are offering virtual tours or online experiences to allow people to explore and learn about the sites from the comfort of their homes. These virtual options often include interactive features and informative guides.
How can tourists stay updated about the reopening of these closed sites?
Tourists can stay updated about the reopening of closed sites by visiting the official websites of the respective attractions, following their social media channels, and checking with local tourism authorities. These sources typically provide the latest information about reopening dates, renovations, and any new guidelines for visitors.