Christmas tree boosts trade in Baixa

THE THOUSANDS of people who have swarmed to Lisbon’s Praça do Comércio to see the gigantic Millennium Christmas tree have swelled the coffers of local traders.

“Business really took off in the Baixa area,” said Manuel Lopes of the Association for the Regeneration of Baixa-Pombalina. Staff in several clothes shops in and around Rua Augusta and Rua do Ouro confirmed that takings had increased by 50 per cent this year and saw this as a direct result to the location of the Christmas decorations and tree.

According to news agency Lusa, most people “loved the tree” and said its new location was excellent. Last year, it was placed at Belém.

However, many Lisboners complained about the longer than usual traffic queues as people slowed down to see the tree. “It was really nice to see the tree and, of course, it was great that it breathed new life into local shopping trade. But, in terms of the traffic, it caused a lot of congestion,” said a driver. Other people complained that it took them one hour to get from the roundabout at Marquês de Pombal to Praça do Comércio.