The new Pontiff’s rise to the Papal Office would be a boon for recession-hit Rome. As thousands throng to the Vatican to seek blessings from the new Pope, the tourism department of the country stands to gain a lot. Benedict XVI’s surprise resignation had led to visitors flocking to the Italian capital, proving to be a boost at a time of low season for tourism. Now that the Conclave has elected the new Pope, thousands are expected to arrive for Pope Francis’s inauguration mass next week.
Also, with the Easter celebrations around the corner means more people coming into the capital. In April 2005, during Pope Benedict XVI’s inauguration, around 350,000 people had attended the ceremony.
According to the head of the Rome division of the hoteliers association Federalberghi, Giuseppe Roscioli, an additional 10 percent are expected to arrive this month. In revenue terms, the Pope’s election would bring in as much as 55 million euros ($71 million) as additional revenue to the capital’s economy.
Pope Francis is the first pope from a Latin American country as well as the first non-European pontiff in more than 1,200 years, and his election is expected to bring in more tourists and foreign devotees.
While Rome looks forward to a boost in religious tourism, there admittedly won’t be too much of a change, simply because most pilgrims spend in limited amounts. “They tend to stay in religious accommodations, do picnic lunches and may buy the souvenir and the image of the new pope,” Gazzellone said.