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Despite complaints on costs, WYD will boost Spain's economy

August 16, 2011

As World Youth Day (WYD) opens in Madrid, with roughly 1 million young people joining in the festivities, the world’s mainstream secular media are focused on the costs of the event and the comparatively tiny number of protesters.

A Reuters story leads with protests over the cost of WYD. The New York Times adds the fact that some Catholic priests (again a small minority, although the headline does not convey that fact) are joining the protests. The 1 million happy and dedicated young Catholics can claim only secondary importance in those stories.

The young WYD participants have told pollsters that they are hoping to deepen their faith and learn how to spread the Gospel. But Agence France Presse labels the entire WYD experience as a “six-day party for the Pope.”

As for the expense of the event, all the costs of WYD will be covered by the participants’ registration fees and the voluntary donations from corporate sponsors. For Spain, a country facing severe economic difficulties, WYD could be a windfall. Roughly half of the WYD participants—500,000 young people—come from outside Spain. These young Catholics are generally mature (average age: 22), well educated (58% have a college background), and independent (45% no longer live with their parents). They will stay in Madrid for an average of 9 days, visiting museums and buying souvenirs as well as attending the WYD events. They are, in short, likely consumers. Spanish officials estimate that WYD will bring roughly €100 million ($144 million) in spending into their country’s economy.


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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Aug. 17, 2011 11:53 AM ET USA

    What! Did we expect that the worldly media would have something good to report about the work of the Church? I suspect that many merchants and workers in the hospitality industry of Madrid will be grateful for WYD and the pilgrims who came.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 17, 2011 8:01 AM ET USA

    All I can say is: I sure wish I were in the streets at night to view the 17th c. art works of the stations of the Cross. Wow!