This work-in-progress explores the changes in the sound environment of some of Lisbon’s tourist hotspots during the COVID-19 confinement. For a tourist city such as Lisbon, the travel restrictions led to the hibernation of an industry that many regard as a symbol of the boom experienced by the Portuguese capital in recent years: mass tourism. With an average of 4,5 million tourist per year, tourism generates 13,7 billion euros in the Lisbon region and it is responsible for around 180.000 jobs, according to the Lisbon Tourism Association (ATM). The sudden disappearance of tourists and the quarantine imposed to all ancillary services associated to them (from guided tours to tuk-tuks, tourist buses, cafes and restaurants, pub crawls, and other leisure activities) has revealed a very different urban landscape than it was just a month ago.
Inspired by the tradition of the phonocards (also known as “talking postcards”), and drawing upon that powerful symbol of the touristic experience as it is the postcard, this project presents a series of audio-visual vignettes of Lisbon’s tourist attractions in times of COVID-19 confinement as a testimony of what a city without tourists might sound like.