Despite national frustration at Portugal’s defeat to Greece in the final, Faro Câmara President, José Vitorino, says Portugal has every reason to take pride in the Euro 2004 tournament.
“Portugal were the true champions in so many ways – in our organisation, our extraordinary victories on the pitch and in the way the Portuguese people greeted the victories. In addition, the championship as a whole created national prestige and succeeded in promoting the country,” he said. As for the Algarve capital, “the Faro municipalities were champions in the way we received fans who visited. We worked as a team and together we won through,” he added.
Faro Câmara’s President said the event was a significant local achievement. “We can take great pride in the fact that everyone involved, in Faro, in the Algarve and at UEFA, thought that everything went very smoothly. The atmoshphere was unique here in the Algarve, the most beautiful area of the country. Everything came together fantastically well – the history, monuments, the docks, the esplanades, the restaurants, the crowds and the gardens. There was nowhere in the country like the Jardim Manuel Bivar Square in Faro,” he added.
Estimates point to 160,000 visitors passing through Jardim Manuel Bivar during the three weeks of the competition. Vitorino also said the event had provided great publicity for the Algarve capital. “Studies show that 70 per cent of people who visited the area were contemplating returning in two to three years time.” He also highlighted the lack of problems during the competition as well as the success of extra signalling, transport, parking, street cleaning and health and medical care.