The city council of Lisbon has an estimated investment of €35 million in the preparation and implementation of World Youth Day (WYD) events, with the largest amount applied in the Tejo-Trancão Urban Park, the city council announced on Wednesday.
At a press conference in Tagus Park, which will host WYD in early August, where around 1.5 million people are expected, the deputy mayor, Filipe Anacoreta Correia, presented the plan and investment of the Lisbon city council for the event.
According to the figures presented, the largest slice of the investment (“€21.5 million) is destined for the Tejo-Trancão Urban Park, the location that will host the main event of WYD.
In this plot of land, the highlights are the rehabilitation of the Beirolas landfill (€7.1 million), the assembly of an altar-stage (€4.24 million), the construction of a pedestrian bridge over the Trancão River (€4.2 million) and the provision of infrastructures and equipment for sanitation, water supply and electricity (€3.3 million).
The investment value calculated for this location also includes studies, projects and supervision (€1.6 million) and tests and foundations (€1.06 million).
Speaking about this investment, Filipe Anacoreta Correia highlighted the fact that it is “an opportunity to rehabilitate an area of the city of Lisbon that is deprived of its quality,” stressing that the Portuguese capital will benefit in the future from the €19 million investment now made.
“These investments we are talking about are amounts that stay in the city. The value that we point to this Tejo-Trancão work will provide the city with a park in an area that was a landfill and that was a deprived area in the city of Lisbon, with the potential that this represents in economic terms,” he argued.
Besides Parque Tejo, Lisbon city council has planned an investment of around €13.5 million to set up venues in other parts of the city, namely in Parque Eduardo VII, Terreiro do Paço, Alameda D.Afonso Henriques and Parque da Belavista.
Investment is planned in the installation of stages, lighting, sound, screens, toilets, stalls, generators, signage, security, waste collection and cleaning brigades.
Lisbon city council also announced that it will reinforce equipment in the areas of urban hygiene, the fire brigade, municipal police and civil protection.
Parque Eduardo VII was chosen as the location for three WYD events: the opening mass (with approximately 200,000 people), the welcoming of Pope Francis (500,000 people) and the Way of the Cross (700,000 people).
A stage will be set up at this location (with no estimated cost yet), which will be the target of an international tender, according to the deputy mayor of Lisbon, adding that the stage, unlike the one that will be built at Tagus-Trancão Park, will be removed at the end of the event.
Lisbon city council estimates that the works provided for in this investment plan will be completed by June and expresses its wish that “there be no slippage in the estimated value”.
The Lisbon local authority says it expects around 1.5 million people to travel to the capital to take part in WYD.
“For the size of Lisbon, hosting an event of this magnitude is a great challenge. It will be an opportunity to give notoriety and visibility to Portugal”, he stressed.
Trying to make a projection on the impact of WYD, the vice-president of the Lisbon city council argued that “one cannot look at this event only from a cost perspective”, pointing to the economic return.
“If we have a million and a half people here who will stay in this region, in this area, for six days, experience tells us that a large number come a week before and go a week after. Now imagine that, on average, these 1.5 million people, during these six or 15 days, spend an average of €200 during their stay. If so, the return for the economy is 200 to 300 million euros,” he pointed out.
World Youth Day is the largest gathering of young Catholics from around the world with the Pope, which takes place every two or three years, between July and August.
Lisbon was the city chosen in 2019 to host the 2022 meeting, which was carried over to 2023 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, sharing the organisation with the neighbouring municipality of Loures.