The FINANCIAL — WASHINGTON, The joint congressional committee for the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama are warning Americans against buying tickets for next January's swearing-in ceremony.
The committee issued the warning after reports of companies charging hundreds of dollars for tickets to the January 20 inauguration of the country's first black president. The committee said the adverts were likely to be a scam.
CNN cited Carole Florman, committee communications director, as saying "anyone claiming to have tickets to sell right now, or saying they will guarantee tickets, is not telling the truth," adding that any tickets would not be distributed until a few days before Obama is sworn in.
Around 240,000 tickets have been printed and will be given free to members of Congress and Barack Obama's presidential inauguration committee. National media have reported that congressional offices have been swamped with ticket requests.
Officials say that crowds for Obama's inauguration could exceed the 1.2 million people who lined the Mall for Lyndon B. Johnson's inaugural parade in 1965. Some sources estimate that up to 1.6 million spectators could line the route from Capital Hill to the White House, along which many viewing areas do not require a ticket.
The Washington Post reported that demand is higher than previous presidential inaugurations. Some airlines have reported a 200% leap in ticket sales while prices for bus tours in Georgia have soared from $6,000 to $30,000 in 48 hours.
The District of Columbia's tourism department reported that hotels are expecting that most of their 95,000 rooms will be fully booked in a week.