Parque Tejo: the scene is set
Parque Tejo: the scene is set

Lisbon’s hosting of World Youth Day in August to cost €36 million

City Council describes “exceptionality of event”

August sees Lisbon hosting World Youth Day – the largest gathering of young catholics from around the world: an iconic event that will generate significant income, particularly as Pope Francis is expected to make an appearance.

But the price tag for putting on this show is likely to exceed €36 million, say reports – and no one is quite sure who will be paying for what.

What does look ‘set in stone’ is the spending of taxpayers money on the ‘altar-stage’ to be constructed at the Parque Tejo site.

Initially priced out at €3.2 million, that figure has since doubled, says Expresso.

Deputy mayor Filipe Anacoreta Correia stresses this will be an altar-stage like no other. “It has nothing to do with any other stage made in Portugal”, he explained, and it will ‘naturally’ be used after the event for other shows and spectacles.

According to the vice-mayor of Lisbon, the nine-metre high stage will have capacity for 2,000 people (1,000 bishops, 300 concelebrants, 200 choir members, 30 sign language interpreters, 90 orchestra members, staff and technical team), it will have two lifts and a central staircase, in an implementation area of 5,000 square meters (equivalent to half a football field).

Mayor Carlos Moedas admitted yesterday that the whole World Youth Day project would be “very expensive”, particularly as it will be constructed according to specifications “indicated by the Catholic Church”

He stressed that: “Any price comparison, any cost comparison cannot compare, because we have never had an event of this size.” 

Expresso suggests the municipality will end up paying around €17 million of the forecast €36 million, with projects like the ‘altar-stage’ having been assigned to construction company Mota Engil by ‘ajuste direto’ (direct agreement/ absence of tender).

The contracted sum of €4.2 million is without IVA, explains Expresso. And on top of it has to come another €1 million at least, plus IVA, for “foundations for the structure”.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com