By Steve Tawa

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — City, convention and tourism officials held their last briefing on the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia a few moments after they watched the Holy Father on a big screen in the convention center, as he finished his visit to Congress in Washington.

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Mayor Michael Nutter is still keen to push folks to book hotel rooms, even as officials say there has been a last minute uptick in hotel reservations.

“I love this headline, hospitality businesses now optimistic about weekend.”


The mayor and other supporters have been fighting folks who are griping about all of the road closures, restrictions, and logistical hassles.

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Executive director Ed Grose of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association says they are over 90 percent filled, and are now closer to selling out Center City’s more than 11,000 rooms.

But he says there are still rooms available. Many hotels lowered costs and did away with minimum night stays.

What is a bit perplexing to the industry is that while Friday and Saturday are nearly booked, Sunday remains open – and the big Papal Mass is at 4 p.m. Sunday. Grose expects last minute bookings.

And turning to the subject of crowd sizes for the Papal Mass, Mayor Nutter remains hesitant even now to talk about estimates.

“Folks are just going to show up. It will be what it’s going to be.”

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He says it’s not like a house party where you tell someone “I’ll be there at 7, and I’ll bring a bottle of wine.”