Great Jubilee News
ROME EXPECTS 4.5 MILLION PILGRIMS BY APRIL VATICAN ( -- Officials in Rome expect about 4.5 million pilgrims to visit the Eternal City between February and April 2000. 

The Roman agency heading up preparations for the Jubilee made that estimate in a briefing for
reporters on January 29. The 4.5 million figure would constitute a 22 percent 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
percent of the foreigners arrive in Rome by airplane, with 68 percent 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. The site most
frequently visited by the pilgrims is, of course, St. Peter's Basilica. But other Roman tourist
attractions, such as the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, are seeing a heavy volume of
visitors as well.