Photo featured by Catholic Weekly under the headline: "Going to World Youth Day 2022? It's Lisbon, Portugal!" The date was later pushed back a year due to the pandemic. Photo: CNS, Paul Haring

Hotel prices and holiday rentals “skyrocket 600% with Pope’s visit”

World Youth Day “sees apartments in Moscavide asking €5,000 per week”

Following on from the controversy of the cost of works for the Catholic jamboree of World Youth Day in August comes the knock-on effect of the week-long event on availability of accommodation.

As many as 1.5 million ‘pilgrims’ are expected to descend on Lisbon between August 1-6 (and possibly a few days either side) and already prices have skyrocketed: hotels are cited as charging over €4,000 for a couple for seven nights; holiday rentals even more.

According to tabloid Correio da Manhã today, a three-bedroom apartment in Parque das Nações is likely to cost around €2,400-plus PER DAY.

“That is an increase of 600%”, says the paper, “bearing in mind that the same space today can be rented for €343 per night.

“Speculation has extended to neighbouring boroughs. One of the most expensively priced being Moscavide, Loures, which is still only a short walk from the Parque Tejo-Trancão” where the event will be taking place.

Seven nights in Moscavide will cost €5,000 in an apartment that could take up to 10 people”, says the paper.

Six months ahead of the event – and even before work begins on the polemic constructions required – “these are the kind of charges that can be found on online platforms” for anyone booking ahead.

CM adds that other European countries have jumped on the bandwagon, increasing the costs for flights to Lisbon, in some cases doubling the regular tariffs.

All this ‘razzmatazz’ when in just a couple of weeks the national commission’s inquiry into child sex abuse within the Catholic Church will be delivering its final report, the collateral damage of which, according to priest Luís Marinho – a leading figure in the nation’s Scouts movement – is never-ending.

Luís Marinho has been talking to Rádio Renascença and church news agency Agência Ecclesia about the report, warning “the worst is yet to come”.

Accepting abuse is one thing; dealing with it, and helping victims heal quite another.

But father Marinho doesn’t see a negative connection between the disclosure of the sexual abuse of young people in the Catholic Church and World Youth Day.

“Young people will surely expect a credible Church that also knows how to recognize its weaknesses. I think this is the Gospel revealing itself and, therefore, it is no attack, it is no aggression, it is no nuisance for the Day,” he told his interviewers.

One ‘possible nuisance’ however would be if the Pope himself was not fit to travel – and this is not such an outlandish prospect. The pontiff admitted last summer that his six-day trip to Canada had been a ‘trip too far’ in terms of its physical demands.

“I think that at my age and with this limitation, I have to save myself a little bit to be able to serve the Church. Or, alternatively, to think about the possibility of stepping aside,” he told a press conference aboard the papal plane on its way back to Rome.

Then only last month he revealed he has his ‘letter of resignation ready’. Indeed, media sources believe that the recent death of his predecessor Benedict opens the way to the 86-year-old pontiff finally having an exit route should he so desire.

Bearing in mind, this Argentine Pope is known for his desire for simplicity and honesty, it would not be beyond the bounds of reason for him to view the rising environment of financial speculation to decide that being a part of it is really not ‘serving the Church’ to which he has dedicated his life’s work.

Since uploading this text, Lusa reports that prices for an apartment for the week of World Youth Day in Fátima have increased to €8,000. “The same apartment the week before is renting for €1,800”, says the State news agency.

[email protected]