The Eurovision Song Contest, the largest music contest in the world, takes place tonight in Moscow after two semi final rounds, which were held on Tuesday and Thursday. A total of 42 countries across Europe and West Asia compete in the multi million Euro competition, hoping to impress the European public which votes after the performances. In the final each of the 42 countries is asked to deliver points based on tele-voting. Starting in 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest, held every year, has become one of the most extravagant, expensive and talked about events in the world. The event is organised by the national television broadcaster in the country. Each year the host city of the contest attracts thousands of visitors boosting tourism, appeal, prestige and helping the national carrier of the country attract passengers. This trend has been seen in past years. In 2008, Belgrade hosted Eurovision for the first time, after the country won in a landslide in the 2007 edition in Helsinki. The hosting of the contest saw Belgrade see thousands of fans arriving across Europe and Jat Airways reporting its best May passenger results since 1991. In May 2008 the airline transported 116.956 passengers, 19% more than in May 2007. The airline also reported its best Cabin Load Factor (CLF) since 1990. In May 2008 Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport saw the most passengers pass through its doors since 1991 as well. The host of the Eurovision Song Contest is the country which wins the previous year.
B&H Airlines will be hoping it will profit from Eurovision next year. Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the favourites to win the contest in Moscow. With the airline beginning a large expansion this year which will be concluded with the arrival of a second jet engine aircraft in the spring of next year, B&H will hope that a potential Eurovision in Sarajevo in 2010 could reproduce Jat’s success last year. Up until now over 80% of Sarajevo’s traffic has been generated by airlines originating from somewhere other than Bosnia and Herzegovina. After a string of successes in Eurovision, Serbia failed to qualify to the final for the first time this year. Similarly, Montenegro, Slovenia and Macedonia also failed to qualify. Croatia made it to the final although its predicted chances of winning are not great. Nevertheless, all 42 countries participating will vote in the final. B&H is the airline which has most to gain out of a potential Bosnian Eurovision win.
Yugoslavia won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1989 with the group Riva brining the contest to Zagreb in 1990. In 2007 Serbia, participating for the first time as an independent nation, won the contest, which allowed Belgrade to host the 2008 event. The Eurovision Song Contest is broadcast in some 50 countries across the world including Australia and New Zealand and watched by over 150 million people.
Will it be B&H Airlines or Croatia Airlines with a smile at the end of tonight? Only time will tell.
UPDATE: Norway wins