Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa- center
With seven months to go only 45 percent of the targeted homestays for pilgrims to World Youth Day (WYD) have been confirmed and Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa who heads the local organizing committee has called upon Panamanians to put aside their fears and open their doors to the anticipated inflow of at least 250,000 young people from around the world.
He confirmed on Thursday, Jan 21 that the estimated cost of organizing this event, from January 22 to 27, 2019, is $54.5 million.
The funds will come, mostly, from the contribution of pilgrims, private donations, non-profit organizations, private enterprise, the public sector and seed capital of the Catholic Church in Panama.
Ulloa, urged the population to "forget fear" and welcome the pilgrims who will come to the country.
"If we welcome a young man, we welcome the whole world," said the prelate. The committee reported that, of the 180,000 anticipated spaces in family homes, 45% have been achieved. 100,000 dormitory spaces in schools and other centers have been confirmed.
Víctor Chang executive secretary said that 207 delegates from 83 countries who participated in the second preparatory meeting of WYD, two weeks ago, got a positive impression of the logistics for the months leading up to the event. The $54.5 million cost does not include the time invested by volunteers nor the state investment in security and transport.
One of the most important activities of the week will be the Festival of Youth, which will expose all kinds of cultural proposals, whose main axis will be Catholic faith.
The committee said that the activity will bring benefits totaling between $12 million and $15 million in revenues from airport taxes and, hotel occupancy taxes and Itbms.
In addition, WYD will give Panama a tourist promotional window and as a global event, it will be covered by national and international media.
$54.5 million outlay for $14 to $15 million return. Sounds like a solid investment. Oh wait! It's to highlight the Pope in Rome. Well then, all well and good. Full steam ahead.