Nearly 1.8 million people came to Washington D.C. in 2009 to witness the inauguration of America’s first African-American president, the largest attendance of any presidential inauguration in U.S. history. However, the president’s second inauguration is expected to draw far fewer people.
According to The Associated Press, District of Columbia officials are expecting 600,000 to 800,000 visitors to flood the National Mall on January 21. While hotels sold out and rented for an average of $600 a night in 2009, reports say inauguration-goers will have an easier time finding lodging this go-around.
“Very few hotels are actually sold out at this point, so there’s a lot of availability,” said Elliott Ferguson, the CEO of the tourism bureau Destination D.C. Hotel prices are slightly below where they were four years ago but Ferguson says he expects the demand to pick up after Christmas.
According to The New York Times, the 2013 inaugural festivities will be smaller than in previous years because the White House is mindful of the state of the economy. This year’s theme is “Faith in America’s Future,” and the events will include the presidential swearing-in ceremony, inaugural address, inaugural parade and the inaugural ball.