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Vatican tourism set to boom as Pope resigns – and ATMs start working

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[three_fourth last=”no”]VATICAN TOURISM
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s the Pope made headlines Monday announcing his resignation by the end of February, the Vatican struggled with another issue, earthly but nonetheless urgent: the blocking of debit and credit card payments within the city state.

Italian banking authorities decided last month to stop such payments “over concerns about a lack of transparency,” news agency Reuters reported, thus creating problems for tourists visiting the Vatican who found themselves unable to withdraw cash from ATM machines. Instead, they were forced to either bring cash into the Vatican, or to return into Italy to access an ATM there.

[pullquote]…latest chapter in a messy scandal involving the Vatican BankBusinessweek[/pullquote]The shutdown of the ATMs, Businessweek reported in a recent story, “was the latest chapter in a messy scandal involving the Vatican Bank, which regulators say has failed to comply with international banking standards and money-laundering regulations.”

 

However, on Tuesday, the day after the Pope’s surprising announcement, the Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi told reporters that the ATM issue had been resolved. “Credit card payments in the Vatican city state are once more activated,” Lombardi told a news briefing, according to Reuters.

An agreement has been reached with the Swiss financial group Aduno, which will be responsible for managing the electronic payment services.

 

As for tourism, the abdication of the Pope could potentially mean good business – but not without negative side effects.

Interest in the Vatican is bound to increase coming weeks before the Pope resigns, as well as during the papal conclave, the process of selecting a new Pope. Local tour guides said on Monday that they plan to continue as usual, until crowds grow too large, or the Vatican dictates otherwise, Huffingtonpost.com said. Visitor numbers are set to increase dramatically. “During the conclave period, it was like Woodstock,” said Vatican Tours Company manager Antony Stuart to the Huffingtonpost, recalling Pope Benedict’s 2005 election. “People were camping out.”

TV Why Vatican ATMs were blocked

 

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Fact Box

Vatican visitors generate around $120 million in annual revenue for the Vatican.
Source: Businessweek

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How the conclave will choose a new pope – The Daily Beast

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The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.