It seems that Serbia managed to take maximum advantage of the organisation of the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest but not only in terms of financial profit for the broadcaster and the city of Belgrade. The ultimate goal of the Serbian authorities and people was to show Europe the new face of the country and the organisers feel that this has been achieved as well.
According to Aleksandar Tijanic, general director of the Serbian broadcaster, RTS spent 8,5 million euros for the event. The entire cost of the organisation was in the neighbourhood of 21 million euros. RTS was funded with 10 million euros from the Serbian government for HD equipment and the City of Belgrade invested 2 more million euros.
But what was Serbia actually looking for was not just to make a financial profit from organising the contest. The prevalent feeling was to show European press and public the modern, hospitable and friendly face of the country: "We took great care of the fund we had at our disposal. According to the latest data, RTS spent 8,5 million euros on the Eurovision Song Contest. However, Serbia's profit is over billion euros, the value of the fact that you turned 3 thousand bloodthirsty journalists into friends who glorified Belgrade during their 10-day-stay, seeing Serbians as friendly, cordial and hospitable European nation living eventful and passionate lives, speaking different languages, with good looks and decent behavior," Aleksandar Tijanic told Blic.
Between 11.000 to 15.000 of foreign fans and press members visited Serbia for the duration of the contest, many spending up to two weeks in the capital city, something that reasonable prices of accomodation, food and transport made possible. Although it is difficult to estimate the exact amount of income for the local businesses it could be said that it reaches tens of millions euro. "Belgrade hosted about 15,000 foreigners who spent much money in restaurants, cafes, hotels, but it is hard to estimate the exact sum. We have invested much money, but I think that the money also returned to Serbia. However, much more important is an incredible promotion that Serbia gained. All European countries recognized Belgrade as an excellent host, and our people as very hospitable.The image of our city is not the same anymore," Zoran Alimpic, Deputy Mayor of the City of Belgrade says to Blic.