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Feature: Lisbon hotel prices skyrocket days before European Champions League final

English.news.cn   2014-05-15 09:10:42

LISBON, May 14 (Xinhua) -- All eyes will be on Portugal for the European Champions League final, but many Spanish football fans might have to make do with watching the game from their television sets at home.

As the big game which will see Real Madrid face Atletico Madrid looms, hotel prices in Portugal's capital Lisbon have soared as soccer fans scramble to find a place.

And over 97 percent of hotels in the city are already occupied, according to the Portuguese Association for Hospitality.

"This is completely normal. It's a demand and supply logic and happens around the world in all the big games and championships," Luis Vega, director of the Portuguese Association for Hospitality, told Xinhua Wednesday.

Vega said that in Lisbon there are usually 24,000 rooms and 60 percent of them are occupied, meaning around 9,000 are usually free. And he said with around 40,000 Spaniards expected to come to Portugal for the match, it was "completely logical" for rooms to be overbooked and prices to rocket.

"Prices to begin with were very low," he pointed out, though.

Xinhua found that booking a room was virtually impossible on Wednesday.

"We only rent rooms for two nights," a receptionist at Inspira Santa Maria, a four-star hotel in Lisbon, told Xinhua on Wednesday. "And we only have an en suite left, with a jacuzzi."

The price? "The room for the 23rd is 2,000 euros (2,741 U.S. dollars) and 8,000 euros on the 24th. That's 10,000 euros in total," she said.

Xinhua also inquired whether there were rooms available at HF Fenix, which has three hotels in Lisbon, but the receptionist said there were no rooms available. All rooms were also booked at Holiday Inn Express.

These prices have been criticized by members of the opposition who say they are a threat to the tourism industry, one of the debt-ridden country's most important means of income.

Simoneta Luz Afonso, municipal deputy of the Socialist Party, has criticized the prices imposed by some hotels which she said were "shameful."

"We are giving out a terrible image of our country and of our capital city," she said during a meeting at parliament. "These prices are pure speculation and are a threat to our tourism industry, the chicken that lays the golden egg."

However, Vega said he believes the exact opposite will happen.

"With so many Spanish people coming, they are likely to come again in future for other reasons."

Festivities are already happening in Lisbon with two weeks left before the big day. The UEFA Champions Gallery and UEFA Champions Museum, which opened on May 6 in Lisbon, will run until May 25, a day after the match.

The Portuguese government also announced on Monday that it will lift a restriction which bans airplanes from flying at Portuguese airports from midnight until 6 a.m. for the game on May 23-25. The government said it fully supported the event, highlighting the positive impact it would have on the local economy and on tourist revenue.

Editor: An
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