Lisbon restaurateurs call for traffic-free streets

Pedestrianised downtown would allow “tourism with more quality”

The Portuguese association of restaurants, bars and nightlife (APRBAN) is pushing for the ‘pedestrianisation’ of Lisbon’s historic districts, to allow “tourism with more quality“.

Led by Ricardo Tavares, the group believes the change would bring the capital up to speed with Europe, where more and more restaurants have outside terraces, in areas free from the noise (and fumes) of traffic.

“Tourists would have a better experience”, says Tavares, stressing the measure is about sustainability and reducing carbon dioxide “for a zero carbon footprint”.

He was speaking at a hearing at Lisbon town hall of the 2nd standing committee on economy, innovation and tourism, as part of the drafting of a report on the economic recovery of the city post-pandemic.

He explained how APRBAN was created following the hunger-strike outside parliament led by restaurateurs, bars and nightlife operators in November 2020 demanding government support to help weather pandemic restrictions

Businesses still need to recover financially from the “hiatus” they suffered with the pandemic but future measures should also ensure “so that tourism can evolve … with more quality”, he said.

The idea is to start with the Bairro Alto neighbourhood – and then work from there., 

As for the pandemic’s impact, APRBAN has estimated that “around 30%” of restaurants, bars and nightlife businesses will end up closing, “as the economic dynamic is still below pre-pandemic figures”, with the exception of August and September 2021, which were “very positive months”.

Source: LUSA