World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid
How much does the faith cost?
The Pope arrived to Madrid last Thursday 19th of August, 2011, and he had stayed in the Spanish capital until Sunday 21st of august, 2011. With him, near 2 million of people had come to Madrid to celebrate the Jornada Mundial de la Juventud (world youth day).
During this time all these pilgrims who came to the city were able to enjoy many averages, like great discounts on public transport and food, or free staying on public hostels. Once the pilgrims were landed, they could go directly to pick “the pilgrim backpack” up, which was not for free, but it was very profitable for them. They had to pay 210€ and it included 300 different activities, accommodation and feeding. Anyone else who wanted this same pack would be forced to pay near 600€.
The most polemic decision was about the public transport discount. This came when the Local Government increased the rate for a single subway ticket by 50% for all users. But, by other hand, this Government offered 80% off to all the pilgrims for the same service. This point was really annoying for the rest of the population who is using the subway normally, because, besides the price they were force to pay, the found the metro collapsed because of many people were using it during these days.
The Spanish Federation of Hospitality also invested around six millions of euro in vouchers for all these pilgrims to enjoy hard discounts in restaurants of Madrid.
From secular approaches, complains were not made to wait. They noticed that, in a very deep crisis situation of the city, too many economic averages were given to religious followers. They said that we must bear in mind that the city of Madrid has one of the biggest debts in Spain, and with this kind of managements, the city is missing great chances to recover itself. Moreover, they reported that the city should not show differences betweens religious and seculars, and everyone should enjoy the same averages when they are visiting the city.
However, some merchants in the area were quite happy with the situation. They said: “we could sell around 50% more than any normal weekend, it means around 2.000€ extra euro for this month that none was expecting. We think that all the money these people are saving with public services was spent in our stores”.
photo by: Mari Concha de Anta