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Obama’s Inauguration Spurs Outlandish Ticket Prices, Tourism Boom

November 11, 2008 01:29 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
Tickets to Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony are in high demand, and Washington, D.C., is bracing for a boom in tourism coinciding with his first term.

Flocking to D.C.

The Chicago Tribune reports an “unprecedented” demand for tickets to Obama’s Inauguration Day events, which are organized by various committees. Tickets are free, but will not be doled out until January. In the meantime, officials are warning consumers to beware of ticket-selling scams, as only members of Congress are permitted to distribute tickets.

Kenneth Edmonds, a spokesman for Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., said, “No one should be surprised. It’s a reflection of the extraordinary enthusiasm President Obama’s candidacy has unleashed.”

According to CNN, although free “if your congressman or senator grants your request,” the huge demand for entrance to the inauguration has sparked “a thriving online marketplace” for tickets. Brokers are already asking for up to $20,095.

Clearly, Obama’s arrival in Washington has prompted travelers to take notice. According to the Washington Business Journal, the hospitality sector in D.C. “always enjoys a nice economic jolt any time a new presidency is celebrated,” but Obama’s historic run has left “tourism officials anticipating record-level attendance and visitor spending that may extend well beyond Inauguration Day.”

Related Topic: Notable inaugurations

Presidential inaugurations are not always so full of promise. A BBC News article written just before President George W. Bush’s inauguration in January 2001 outlined the various protests planned by “more than a dozen groups.” Included among the Bush detractors were the National Organization of Women and the Reverend Al Sharpton.

Other memorable inaugurations include the 1789 swearing in of George Washington, whose words, “So help me God,” have been repeated by other presidents. Washington also “set the precedent of kissing the Bible,” reported The New York Times.

The New York Times article culled noteworthy inauguration anecdotes from the Library of Congress’s Presidential Inauguration Web site, “I do Solemnly Swear,” which provides multimedia resources detailing each presidential inauguration in words and images.

Reference: Inauguration travel


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