LANCASTER, Pa. - The visit from Pope Francis to Washington D.C., New York and Philadelphia is expected to attract thousands of people converging on those cities to see the leader of the Catholic Church.
And here at home, businesses in Lancaster County are gearing up for an influx of those visitors making their way to the City of Brotherly Love.
“We're aware of up to two dozen bus groups that are actually staying here in Lancaster, and then going on down into Philly, so they're using hotel rooms here simply because it works better for their itinerary, their costs,” Joel Cliff, with Discover Lancaster, said.
The group says they're also going to see groups that come out to Lancaster as a day trip, increasing business for restaurants and shops. Those tourists may have some advantages by staying in the area.
“One, it's definitely going to be less here in terms of the hotel lodging, two could be minimum room nights,” Cliff said. “Three, it really depends on what you're doing with the trip. Are you going there for the entire week and each day of the conference and the mass, or is it a little bit of some of that and also some exploring of the area.”
Some local businesses are preparing in case they see an increase in visitors. The Silverstone inn in Lancaster is opening a new events barn by September to drum up interest for the bed and breakfast.
“Bookings for the weekends are going up much farther in advance than usual,” Nick Wagner, with the Silverstone Inn & Suites in Lancaster, said. “We have a lot of guests reserving for September, October already and we're only in July.”
Businesses say they are ready to welcome anyone who wants to enjoy what Lancaster has to offer.
“The rolling hills, the farmland, definitely the community feel, I'd like to think Lancaster moves a little bit slower around here,” Wagner said.