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Lisbon hopes to land America’s Cup

A fishing port could host the next America's Cup in Lisbon. www.coac2007.org

Switzerland’s Team Alinghi, the winner of this year’s America’s Cup, will announce on November 26 which city will host the next regatta in 2007.

This content was published on November 24, 2003 - 07:52

Lisbon is one of four contenders alongside Valencia, Marseilles and Naples bidding to stage the lucrative competition.

Alinghi’s win over Team New Zealand gives the Swiss the right to select the host city for the 32nd edition of the America's Cup - considered to be the world’s most important and famous sailing competition.

Landlocked Switzerland is not in the running because America’s Cup rules state that it must be an open-water race.

The Swiss have therefore chosen AC Management to select the site, which must fulfil six criteria: regular winds, sporting tradition, good infrastructure, tourism, political support and security.

Lisbon, one of four cities that made it through the first part of the selection process, has proposed the fishing port of Cascais as a base for the competition.

Strong points

Cascais’ strong points are its constant winds, ease of access to Lisbon from abroad, plus the fact that the city is one of the safest and cheapest in Europe.

The popularity of Lisbon and the Estoril coastline as tourist destinations are not to be discounted either.

But the Lisbon/Cascais project - the favourite of sailing enthusiasts - would mean a lot of building work in the region.

The races themselves would take place off Cascais. The long distance between the port and the competition zone, which is considered one of the drawbacks to the city's candidacy, would be roughly the same as it was in New Zealand.

A total of seventeen bases would have to be constructed for all the teams taking part in the 32nd edition of the America’s Cup. These bases would be built along the banks of the Tage River, between Algés and Pedrouços.

Benefits

Competition among the four cities hoping to host the cup is expected to be fierce due to the potentially huge benefits of hosting the regatta.

This includes the planned modernisation of certain areas of the cities.

The race is also being seen as a huge global marketing opportunity for the four racing venues, which should result in more visitors in the medium and long term.

Lisbon/Cascais expects to invest around €200 million (SFr308 million) on infrastructure if it hosts the cup.

Lucrative

But this is a relatively small investment as the event itself is expected to generate around €1 billion.

This far outstrips the estimated revenue from the European football championships in 2004 of €850 million.

These estimates take into account the three years before the sailing event takes place, during which the different teams arrive and begin training.

Lisbon can also expect a boost to its fortunes during this time, as between 600,000 and 700,000 tourists would be expected to visit the city.

swissinfo, Claudinê Gonçalves

In brief

Alinghi’s America's Cup win means the Swiss to select the host city for the 32nd edition of the competition.

Four cities are bidding for the right to host the Cup: Lisbon, Marseilles, Valencia and Naples.

Six criteria are being applied to determine the host city: winds, sporting tradition, infrastructures, tourism, political support and security.

Good winds, excellent tourism infrastructures and a strong maritime tradition are among Lisbon’s strong points.

Around €200 million will be invested if Lisbon hosts the competition, but the returns could be worth up €1.5 billion.

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