The Eurovision Song Contest 2018 kicked into high gear on May 8 in Lisbon, with tens of thousands of music fans further boosting the record tourist numbers in the city.After a week of rehearsals, contestants from 19 countries took to the stage of the 20,000-capacity Altice Arena on Tuesday in the first night of the semi-finals of the show watched by an estimated more than 200 million people around the world.
Officials expect Saturday’s final of the annual musical spectacle to draw some 30,000 foreign visitors to the city.
Local authorities are meanwhile working to use Lisbon’s moment in the Eurovision spotlight to showcase the city’s charms and lure more visitors for the years to come.
“We can never have too many people getting to know us,” Lisbon mayor Fernando Medina told reporters when asked whether the city, which has seen a surge in visitor numbers in recent years, really needed any more tourism.
Locals know their country’s economy depends heavily on tourism, but they also fear Lisbon may not be able to handle the huge influx of visitors already pouring in.
Lisbon is also the city where pop star Madonna moved to last year.
fm/ch (Reuters, AFP)