ROME - Mohamad El Zein still talks about how “colourful and diverse” Turin was in May. One of 650 Eurovision Song Contest volunteers in the Italian industrial city - with numerous events for locals and tourists outside of the arena - the 29-year-old says: “From 06:00 to 03:00 it was venue, party, venue, party.” To be in their city with the most watched live music event “going worldwide” was “an incredible experience”, his friend Giovanni Caponetto agrees, beaming with pride tens of thousands had visited for the first time for one his favourite events of the year. “It was like the whole world was in Turin,” the 38-year-old says. “It’s the most unique competition. It’s not about winning, it’s about having the most fun.” The competition, the first in Italy since 1991, “was a success well beyond our expectation”, Turin’s Deputy Mayor, Michela Favaro, tells BBC News. The city spent £10m - but, with nearly half of hotel bookings made by foreign tourists, “what you get back from the investment is much higher”.

It would have been hard to justify, however, city officials tell BBC News, had the cost-of-living crisis hit earlier. “It was a positive event,” La Stampa’s Fabrizio Goria agrees. The hospitality sector made “seven times” what the city spent, with “nine out of 10 saying they’ll come back for a second visit”.

“But with the war in Ukraine and inflation hitting the global economy,” he adds, “it would be harder to host a Eurovision Song Contest again.” Earlier this week, British households were warned energy bills could hit £4,266 next year.

Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Leeds and Birmingham are among the UK cities to have applied to host in 2023. The BBC announces the shortlist on Friday.