Quarter of Philadelphia’s hotel rooms unsold for pope visit

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Philadelphia hotels say about a quarter of their rooms remain unsold for Pope Francis’ visit this month.

Officials said Friday hotels are slashing rates, skipping minimum stay requirements and tossing in extras like subway tokens and bags full of snacks to lure guests for the Sept. 26-27 visit.

About 3,000 of the 11,200 rooms in the city’s downtown are still available. It’s the latest dent to predictions that Francis’ visit will attract at least 1 million people.

The city’s regional rail line says it’s sold 60,000 fewer passes than expected for Francis’ Sept. 27 outdoor Mass. Organizers say about 1,100 charter buses have registered. They’d been predicting 5,000 buses would sign up.

The city this week scrapped a plan to let people camp in a park due to lack of interest.

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