(ANSA) - Rome, February 19 - Roughly 10,000 more people than
normal are expected to flock to Rome's hotels during the
conclave of cardinals to elect a new pope next month, according
to the head of Rome's hoteliers' association.
"That translates to 10% more than a typical March," said
Rome Federalberghi President Giuseppe Roscioli after a meeting
Friday with Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno.
"There are about 100,000 hotel beds available in Rome, so
we'll have no accomodation problems. In any event this is low
season. Reservations are already being made, especially around
The Vatican has yet to announce a date for the start of the
conclave, making it difficult for out-of-towners to plan.
It is expected to commence mid-March, possibly in time to
install a pope before the start of Holy Week on March 24, Palm
Rome began making sure the city was equipped to handle a
massive influx of people and traffic as soon as the Benedict XVI
announced last Monday he was stepping down at the end of the
On Wednesday the mayor said that the city was preparing a
'command center' to ensure that all offices, departments and
infrastructure run smoothly in the events leading up to the
election of Benedict's successor.
The command center, according to Alemanno, "will guarantee
the proper reception and security of the faithful who come to
Rome from around the world to witness the events culminating in
the election of a new pontiff".
Alemanno said special attention will be paid to traffic and
transportation, especially around the Vatican.
An estimated 150,000 faithful flooded St Peter's Square in
2005 within minutes of the announcement of a new pope - Benedict
XVI, who succeeded John Paul II.