This blog was co-authored with my colleague Tom Onder, Esq.

Pope Francis is coming to Philadelphia in September. The visit will attract millions of visitors from around the world. A quick look at prior Pontiff visits shows the enormous influx of people that the Pope attracts to other global cities:


Global City

3.5 Million

Copacabana Beach, Rio, Brazil in 2013

6.6 Million

Vatican in 2014

6 Million

Manila, Philippines in 2015

+2 Million

Expected to see the Pope in Philadelphia  [1]

Many commercial, retail and other property owners are now planning to benefit from the multitude that come to see the Pope when he visits the United States in September. Currently, the Papal itinerary has him in Washington, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia.

Bigger Economic Impact than the Super Bowl

Tourism officials and business leaders are also excited by the ripple-effect from this rare event.

“This is a once in a lifetime event,” said Jack Ferguson, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau. “You’re talking about millions of people coming in very quickly, and creating a demand in a very compressed period of time. This absolutely will push out into the suburbs.”[2]

In Philadelphia alone, the Pontiff’s visit is expected to generate $418 million in economic benefits to the region, including restaurant outings, hotel stays, retail purchases, etc. To give this some context, the bannered “biggest sporting event in the world” the Super Bowl, only generates only about $200 million.[3] When the Pope visited South Korea in 2014, the visit generated more than $491 million.[4]

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is projecting up to 700,000 passengers each day during the Pope’s visit, and Amtrak will require reservations for the Papal visit. Businesses that will benefit include hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other businesses in the hospitality industry. There are not enough rooms in Philadelphia to accommodate all of the visitors, which means additional opportunities for surrounding communities, including communities in New Jersey and the surrounding region. The demand is so great that people are now offering to host out-of-town guests for a fee.

Restaurants, caterers, and vendors will feed the hungry crowds and provide beverages. Retailers will supply the masses. Other businesses and attractions will provide entertainment and activities. This visit presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to welcome travelers and encourage them to return.

Have You Prepared to Maximize the Benefits for Your Retail Business?

In order to maximize the benefits of the Pope’s visit, it is important to plan now. The Pontiff will only be here for a short time, and it’s just around the corner. Are you and your company ready to meet this once in a lifetime opportunity? It is important to discuss your commercial, retail, and other property needs with experienced counsel to achieve your goals. Don’t delay. The visit is only a few months away.

[1] Wikipedia, “List of Pastoral Visits of Pope Francis Outside Italy”, July 15, 2015.

[2], May 17, 2015

[3] CBS MoneyWatch, February 4, 2015.

[4] Wall Street Journal, August 19, 2014