According to one Polish news site some 700,000 Poles will travel to Rome for the beatification of Pope John Paul II, which will take place on May 1, 2011. According to this newspaper all those Poles will together spend around 1 billion zlotys (250 million euros) on accommodation, transport and whatever else the average visitor to Rome will spend his or her money on.
Especially travel agencies, airline companies and Rome hotels will benefit from the expected crowds during the celebrations, says the Polish newspaper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna. According to the newspaper, thanks to the beatification the cheap Roman hotels are already fully booked for the first of May. Some hotels, the British quality newspaper the Guardian claims have upped their prices by as much as 300%.
In reality most Rome hotels are not very happy with the chosen date, since May 1st is a bank holiday in the middle of the high season, and usually the busiest day of the year anyway in Rome. Every year on May 1st there is a free concert and young people from all over Italy flock to the capital. The cheap hostels and bed and breakfasts, but also the bigger hotels are booked up months in advance.
Chances are that, as happened during the Jubilee and as happened when the former Pope died, that the city will be packed with people (who sleep in convents, in their vehicles, on the beach, or come to Rome in the morning and leave again, not having spent the night at all) in Rome only for the beatification, while the hotels are left with empty rooms, since the “normal” tourists are scared away by the crowds.
The Polish travel agencies have pledged to donate up to 5% of their profits to the Pope John Paul II Memorial, which is to be built in Krakow, where the former Pope was an archbishop when he still was Karol Wojtyla from the block.