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Old 09-04-2006, 23:59   #1
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BONANZA

If the (America’s) Cup organizers are enthusiastic about what Valencia
offers to the competition, civic leaders are positively ebullient about
what they think the races will do for their city. "Millions and millions
of people will hear the name Valencia now," says Alberto Catala,
president of the executive committee of Feria Valencia -- Europe's
largest exhibition facility which hosts about 50 trade fairs a year. In
the next two years, many, many people who had never heard the name now
will have. This is the biggest marketing [project] we could do," Mr.
Catala says.

Similar energy and enthusiasm bubbles out of the offices of Mayor Rita
Barbera Nolla -- who boasts of the city's Roman roots in 137 B.C. and
complete municipal archives dating from 1226 -- and of the regional
government, based in a beautifully restored 15th-century building with a
suit of medieval armor in the lobby. A similar air of anticipation is
found on the streets, where there is an almost universal expectation
that the sailing competition will bring a boost to the local economy.
"The America's Cup will be very good for Spain and for Valencia because
there will be more work," says Leniurica Baroso, 35, a waitress who
emigrated from Cuba six years ago.

Even among the undocumented African immigrants who haunt the narrow
streets behind Valencia's main train station, the thought of the Cup
sparks hope for a better life. "The America's Cup is a top illusion for
[African immigrants]," says Bamba Sarr, president of the Senegalese
Association of Valencia and a self-described honorary consul devoted to
improving the image of his countrymen in Spain "It is the dream, that
there will be more jobs for them, in construction and other things."

Valencia's bid to become a world-class tourist destination started long
before a Swiss team won the America's Cup; in one ironic sense, it began
with a devastating flood of the Turia River that left central parts of
the city under several feet of water in 1957. Authorities subsequently
diverted the river away from the city center and transformed the now-dry
river bed into a six-mile stretch of beautifully landscaped parkland.
Recently completed at one end of that stretch is the City of Arts and
Sciences, a 1.5-mile-long complex including an opera house, planetarium,
music hall, IMAX theater, science museum and aquarium, all featuring the
sculptural architecture of Valencia native Santiago Calatrava.

Even so, Valencia has always felt overshadowed by Madrid and by Spain's
second largest city, Barcelona -- a feeling that has been felt all the
more acutely since the 1992 Olympics made Barcelona a top destination
for European vacationers. The desire to repeat Barcelona's achievement
gave extra impetus to Valencia's America's Cup bid, which was driven in
large part by the pro-business orientation of the conservative regional
government. -- Excerpt from a story by David W. Jones, The Washington
Times, full story: http://tinyurl.com/nxafc

Curmudgeon’s Comment: Treat yourself to a tour of the individual
syndicate bases in Port America's Cup as posted on:
http://valenciasailing.blogspot.com/
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Old 13-04-2006, 06:44   #2
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Hi Capt K,

Here hoping the hype does not hurt any local people.

We heard this all before when Fremantle WA hosted the Cup back in the early 90's. There was no doubt the event was instrumental in speeding up a change from a pretty 'industrial' fishing port to the local trendy place to live / eat / drink - but the hype then was a bit like these Valencian claims - possibly OTT.

Lot's of people in Perth and Freo lost money investing in property / businesses supposedly reliant on the projected influx of visitors to Freo - who if they did all arrive, certainly did not spend as much as was projected.

All that having been said - the six months around the Freo event was a great time if you were local and into sailing - so I really do hope Valencia goes off well. I'm going to try and be there.

Cheers
JOHN
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Old 13-04-2006, 17:05   #3
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Well John.

I hope that they do go through with the deal they mentioned in the article. It could really mean job security for alot of folks over there!!
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