Spanish economy benefits from multi-million dollar WYD profit

Spain’s capital, Madrid, netted a NZ$280 million WYD profit, reports Arturo Fernandez, the president of Madrid’s House of Commerce.

The surplus was generated by accommodation, transport services and business such as food providers.

The director of the Hotel Industry Business Association in Madrid, Juan Jose Blardony, said three million meal tickets were distributed to young people throughout the week, valued at nearly NZ$39 million.

WYD organisers originally estimated the event would bring in NZ$170, which is much lower than the NZ$280 they now calculate.

The figures will now be given to an external auditor for final verification.

Other financial facts emerging from WYD 2011 include:

  • World Youth Day generated 3 times the revenue made by the Champions League Final in 2010
  • hotels reported a 70% occupancy rate compared with the normal 40% for around this time
  • the City Council estimates 2% of tourism revenue for the country in one week

Violent protests repeatedly flared throughout the papal visit as between 3000-5000 anti-pope protesters voiced their concerns about the 50 million euro price tag of the four-day trip.

Priests from Madrid’s poorest parishes also criticised the cost of the trip.

“We are not organising a protest against the Pope but to complain about an event which is very expensive in times of crisis and high unemployment,” said Evaristo Villar, a priest and member of Redes Cristianos.

“An event of this kind has no place in a country with five million unemployed,” he said.

The Spanish Government is yet to release the costs associated with policing the protests.


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