Terror threat hits Rome tourism

20,000 less tourists in Rome for Easter following Brussels attacks.

There will be at least 20,000 less tourists in Rome this Easter, compared to last year, according to data provided by the capital's hotel association Federalberghi to newspaper Il Messaggero.

Hotels in Rome reported an immediate wave of Easter cancellations following the ISIS-claimed terror attacks in Brussels on 22 March, which claimed the lives of 31 victims and three suicide bombers.

This was in contrast to the aftermath of the Paris terror attack in November, when Rome's hotels experienced a drop-off in new reservations but few cancellations.

The capital's hoteliers say the situation has been compounded by Washington's travel alert advising US citizens of the potential of "near-term attacks throughout Europe." The alert, which remains in place until 20 June, warns US citizens in Europe to be particularly vigilant when using mass transportation or in crowded public places such as tourist sites, sporting events or religious ceremonies.

Security in Rome has been heightened significantly in recent days however the Vatican's programme of Easter ceremonies remains unchanged.

The Via Crucis Good Friday ceremony takes place at 21.15 on 25 March at the Colosseum, led by Pope Francis, and the Urbi et Orbi blessing in St Peter’s Square at midday on 27 March.