Friday, May 27, 2005

Kiev Counts Cost of Eurovision Hosting

KIEV, Ukraine -- The Kiev authorities are clearing up after ten days that saw the city play host to thousands of followers of the Eurovision Song Contest.

The Ukrainian minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Nickolay Tomenko, has instructed the National Television Company of Ukraine to report on the costs of staging the 50th contest. He said, “I have asked those in charge of Eurovision at NTU to make it public just how money was spent on the contest. I will then issue an audited report on the funding of the show.”



Tomenko feels that the investment made in new state of the art broadcasting equipment will benefit the company in coming years. He also pointed out that a large chunk of the proposed state funding was not spent, as the sums were covered by advertisers and sponsorship deals.

With the last signs of the contest being cleared away, the Ukrainian press is asking whether the contest has proven a boost for the city or been a non-event. The results, say most lies somewhere in the middle.

There are continuing concerns that things were left too late by the city council. When tourists arrived in the city, the area around the Sports Palace was still a building site.

The use of orange as a predominant colour upset many. One commentator said, “The orange ribbons and banners were already inappropriate on Inauguration Day in January, because they injected a note of factionalism into proceedings marking Yushchenko’s becoming president of what should be a united country. They were all the more inappropriate four months later. Ukraine is not a country for orange supporters only. Whoever decorated Kyiv for Eurovision should not have given tourists the idea that it is.”

The press have also singled out Ukrainian TV star Masha Efrosinina for criticism, “She sounded as if she had never studied English, but was reading her lines phonetically off cue cards. She was painful to listen to,” said the Kiev Post. The fact that President Viktor Yushchenko took to the stage at the end of the show did not please everyone, some commentators thought it undignified.

The fact that Kiev was not ready to host the numbers that wanted to come to the city has not escaped attention. When Kiev pledged to host the contest, it was agreed that several four and five stars hotels would be built. The ‘Orange Revolution’ interrupted plans and as a result, many fans could not find rooms. Those that did, were forced to pay well over the odds or consider using a camp site. The interest in ‘Eurocamp’ was dismal with just 380 out of a projected 10,000 visitors, just 70 being from overseas.

The levels of policing were felt to be too high for many. “This was striking, because this is, after all, a city in which even the revolutions aren’t heavily policed by beat cops. We wonder if Eurovision visitors found the uncharacteristic police presence reassuring or oppressive, “ said the Kiev Post.

Despite everything, the city feels that the Eurovision Song Contest proved that Kiev could pull off a major international event and with more development of the basic tourism infrastructures could be well placed to bid now for the Olympic games in the future.

Source: Doteurovision

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