By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mayor Nutter says it will be months before the city knows the economic impact of the Pope’s visit. Many local businesses believe shutting down the city cost them more than visitor spending could make up for.
Local restaurateurs took the mayor to task for scaring residents away with overly-extensive road closures and one suggested that, perhaps because of the religious nature of the event, the estimated 850-thousand visitors did not do much for the local economy.
Mayor Nutter says it will take months to determine whether that’s true.
“I don’t know the spending habits of pilgrims. I will say though, they had to eat somewhere.”
But the mayor says the event was never intended as a money-maker.
“It was billed as a huge event for the city. a major opportunity for Philadelphia to be on the national and international stage,” says Nutter. “If we’re going to be a big city that does big events well and raise our profile, yes, there will be some inconvenience.”
He says it was a chance for the city to shine– which he says it did– but the pay-off there is long-term, not a single weekend’s gross receipts. Though, he adds, there were opportunities.
“There were hundreds of thousands of folks here. I don’t know that folks packed enough energy bars to eat for two days
Many businesses simply closed for the weekend. He also says Center City hotels did end up being 90 percent full.