Life & Leisure

Hard days for tourism in Lisbon, but there are some silver linings

Lisbon, Mar 11 (efe-epa).- Tram 28, one of the main historical tourist attractions that rides through the streets of Lisbon, now sits empty in a country that has imposed a nationwide lockdown to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Inaugurated in 1901, the classic yellow tram no longer has dozens of passengers bending over through its windows to admire the landscape of the city that used to receive an average of 4.5 million tourists per year before the pandemic.

Riders pass through places such as Plaza del Comercio and Santa Lucia church during the 40-minute trip on the tram, which people had to line up to get a seat in. Now only a handful of the capital’s inhabitants turn up for the ride.

The lack of international tourists in Lisbon has allowed residents to enjoy their six tram lines that were previously overcrowded.

“We used to take up an average of 50 people per trip,” says Joao, one of the drivers of Line 28, which now carries one or two people per trip.

The route “is much calmer now, so is the city,” he adds.

Tourists have disappeared from the streets of Lisbon, which has been under a lockdown since Jan. 15.

“It is very empty, very sad, because everything is closed,” says Soluna d’Ayala Valva, who traveled to Lisbon from Italy.

In 2020, Portugal received 12 million tourists, a figure that has not been seen since 1984. It was 75 percent less than the year before, when 27 million people visited the country.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese Hotel Industry lost 1.5 billion euros in 2020, and the lockdown measures have forced many establishments and services to close. Many hotels were unable to pay the salaries of their employees in February this year. EFE-EPA

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