Rome expects U.S. visitor count to surpass 1M in 2000

ROME -- Rome's total visitor count is running 30% ahead of last year, according to Paolo Gentiloni, Rome's commissioner for tourism, although the bulk of that increase comes from Italian day-trippers.

Among "traditional tourists," he said, the increase this year has been about 4%, the same as last year's increase.

But the number of U.S. tourists visiting Rome rose by 11% during the first four months of 2000, Gentiloni said.

In 1999, the city attracted slightly more than 900,000 U.S. travelers.

"We believe that by the beginning of December, for the first time, the number of American tourists in Rome will surpass 1 million," he said.

The city is planning to select a U.S. visitor, probably in December, as the millionth tourist, with attendant celebrations, he said.

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