|Italy||ROME EXPECTS 4.5 MILLION PILGRIMS BY APRIL|
Officials in Rome expect about 4.5 million pilgrims to visit the city between now and April.
The Roman agency heading up preparations for the Jubilee made that estimate in a briefing for reporters on Saturday. The 4.5 million figure would constitute a 22% increase from the number of visitors to Rome in 1999. The agency expects that 3 million of this year's visitors will come from elsewhere in Italy, and 1.5 million from other countries.
The beginning of the Jubilee, and especially the ceremonial opening of the Holy Door, has caused many people to think about a visit to Rome, the agency believes. The planners are expecting a "high, but not critical" level of pilgrim traffic during Holy Week and Easter. About 70% of the foreigners arrive in Rome by air, with 68% of the Italians coming by car, bus, or train. Most of the people coming to Rome from abroad are from other European countries, and the most common age group for pilgrims is 45-54 years. To date there have been relatively few pilgrims under the age of 24, but that statistic is expected to change dramatically in August, when hundreds of thousands of young people will arrive for World Youth Day.
CWN 1:29am 3/2/00