WTC Memorial to Include Timed Ticketing System

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A word of advice to visitors planning to visit the World Trade Center Memorial: make a reservation.

In anticipation of the millions of people expected to visit the site, the 9/11 Memorial Foundation will require visitors to register for tickets in advance starting on September 12.

Joe Daniels, the president of the foundation, said the ticketing company, Gateway Systems, has brought similar systems to the Statue of Liberty and other major destinations.

"The notion of timed ticketing on a large scale is definitely a part of the industry," Daniels said.

The tickets will be free and will allow visitors access to about six acres of Ground Zero, including the signature waterfalls and pools designed by architect Michael Arad.

"They'll be able to approach the waterfalls, see the names of the 2,982 victims that are permanently inscribed in bronze and be in a beautiful setting of hundreds of trees. And these passes will allow that experience to happen," Daniels said.

He said it's too early to disclose the number of visitors that will simultaneously occupy the area. That figure will become clearer once the average dwell time of visitors is established.

"If people stay for 10 minutes, we can obviously get a lot more on an hourly basis. If they stay for an hour, that changes the number," he said.

According to Daniels, city tourism officials will begin promoting the memorial in cities around the world, this spring, along with the message that tourists will need to book their tickets in advance. The city estimates 4 million or more visitors, each year.

That number is at once promising and daunting to downtown officials.

"It will mean real changes for the community," says Julie Menin, chair of Community Board 1.

But she thinks the influx of tourists could also translate into a boom for many of the small businesses in the area, if the 9/11 Memorial Foundation can successfully market the assets of the neighborhood.

"These visitors who are coming to the memorial, we want them to stay in our community, to frequent the small businesses, to see our museums and dine in our restaurants. We want them to spend economic dollars in our neighborhood. We're still trying to rebuild."