Philadelphia hotels prepare for pope visit

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The announcement from the Vatican came as something of a surprise Monday for the people who work to get tourists into town.

Now, we know Pope Francis is coming to Philadelphia and so will they.

The Pope's visit pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy.

"The closest thing to it was maybe the Republican National Convention which generated $345 million," Meryl Levick of Visit Philadelphia said.

The Sonesta Hotel at 18th and Market is already getting calls for room reservation.

The region's 45,000 hotel rooms are expected to fill up fast.

"Our phone has been ringing off of the hook. Our reservation department, when they got in this morning, people were calling 'how do I get rooms?' It's going to be a really special event," Michele Simpson of the Sonesta said.

Along with the money generated during the World Meeting of Families, there is an after effect.

People will see Philadelphia in a new way, a positive way. So the papal visit is expected to pay off long after the Pope is gone.

"It's a wonderful exposure too for Philadelphia. Hoping that the people who are coming will come back to visit again and again," Simpson said.

"The payoff, so to speak, is down the line," Levick said.

Upwards of a million people are expected to see the Pope celebrate mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.