Our summer in Portugal Mit Surfbrett und Fado durch die Krise

A film by António Cascais
Commissioned by NDR and ARTE
Arte Re

A fado singer, a surf instructor, a tuktuk driver: arte:RE accompanies people who worked as solo self-employed in the tourism sector in the greater Lisbon area and were suddenly faced with nothing when the entire country was put into lockdown in March 2020 due to the coronavirus. How do they experience the crisis summer 2020 in Portugal's capital?

Fado singer Henriqueta Baptista, 66, worked every night in a fado restaurant in the old town district of Alfama before the lockdown. She was paid €50 per evening. Dinner was free. After a three-month forced break, fado restaurants in Lisbon reopened in mid-June. Henriqueta Baptista breathes a sigh of relief. But she has to realize: the "business model" of fado restaurants has partially collapsed: Far fewer foreign guests are coming. Most of the time, the place where she performs remains completely empty. Henriqueta goes there anyway. Fado is not only her livelihood, fado is her life. And: "Fado will survive this crisis," she says.

Surf instructor Pedro Carvalho, 42, also had to keep his school and store closed for three months during the lockdown. There was no help from the state during that time. When he reopens his school at the end of June, he finds that no more foreign tourists come. At least he can teach some local children at special rates. He expects 70 percent less income this summer than in previous years. He has money worries, but also much more time for himself and his sport.

With tuktuk driver, Hugo Samora, 45, we drive through summery Lisbon. The Portuguese capital is empty this summer. No comparison to the lively tourist metropolis he experienced in previous years. Hugo Samora doesn't know if and how to continue. "We were naive, we put everything on the tourist card and lost everything. Will we see light at the end of the tunnel? Or will I have to give up?"  

Our protagonists talk about their fears, but also about their hopes and small successes in the summer of 2020. Many people who had fully bet on tourism are worried about the future.

At the beginning of March, a new record number of visitors had been expected in Portugal. Last year, 27 million foreigners spent more than 16 billion euros there. To a large extent, they contributed to the recovery of Portugal, a country that was on the verge of bankruptcy a decade ago. This year, the government was aiming for a budget surplus.

Editorial: Monika Schäfer

on August 11, 2020 at 7:40 p.m., ARTE

12. September 2020 um 12.45 Uhr, NDR