It is a widely known fact that World Youth Day (WYD) unites millions of young people from around the world on a pilgrimage to come into greater communion with the Church and meet the Pope. Yet beyond the experience of this remarkable meeting and the spiritual growth of pilgrims, WYD also benefits the host city and country.
A report published by the organizers of WYD Madrid 2011, held from August 16 to 21, points out the event had an economic impact of about 354 million Euros in Spain. The study, carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), based its calculations on direct expenditures made by World Youth Day organizers and on independent and national accounting figures from the National Institute of Statistics. PwC confirms that foreigners spent about 147 million euros in Madrid. Lodging and employment were the sectors that gained the most from WYD. The event’s cost of 50 million euros was raised by the organization itself.
The event certainly had a tremendous impact on international participants. According to the Archbishop of Madrid 1.5 million people participated in WYD events between August 16 and 21, 2011. Of these, about 470,000 were foreigners from 189 nations including 5 000 accredited journalists. The Archbishop of Madrid says that 90% of participants came away from the event with a positive impression. The event also strengthened the image of Spain as about 90% of foreigners who attended the event said they wished to return in the future. It’s wonderful to see how WYD can have impacts on so many different levels!
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