.- The Spanish capital city of Madrid came away with over $200 million in profits after World Youth Day 2011 held this past August, officials said.
The WYD Madrid press office reported Sept. 26 that the Confederation of Businessmen of Madrid calculated that the capital took in some $216 million during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI.
The Community of Madrid estimated that WYD produced an increase of $199 million in the region’s Gross Interior Product. The contribution made by WYD was also recognized by the Madrid Consistory, which awarded the event with the Tourism Prize of the City of Madrid for promoting the city internationally. It also classified WYD as a National Patrimony.
Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid, who received the prize, said, “The hospitality of Madrid was crucial to the success of World Youth Day. The kindness and friendliness with which the pilgrims were welcomed shows the human reflection of the city, which is what surprised WYD attendees the most,” he said.
After WYD, Madrid experienced an historic increase of 42 percent in the number of foreign visitors compared to August of 2010, according to government statistics.
The Commerce Confederation of Madrid said this has helped boost the city’s image as one of great “hospitality and capacity to host large events.”
Attendees of WYD said their experience in the Spanish capital was very positive. A poll carried out by GAD3 revealed that the level of satisfaction towards the city was very high. Around 80 percent of those surveyed said gave high marks to the streets and monuments of Madrid. Over 75 percent said they would recommend to their friends a trip to Spain and 47 percent said the event improved their image of the country.
WYD Madrid 2011 also stood out for its impact in the media. More than 12 million followed the specials broadcast on the Spanish television networks. Some 5,000 journalists were given credentials for covering the event.