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Sunday, February 28, 2021

In footage: How lockdown emptied the world’s hottest vacationer locations

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It’s arduous to fathom that, simply over a 12 months in the past, we’d stand elbow-to-elbow with our fellow people, and not using a second thought as to whether or not they would possibly infect us with a extremely contagious illness referred to as Covid-19.

Each February, revellers would take to the streets in Venice, carrying masks for enjoyable, somewhat than to stop an infection. In spring, hundreds of marathon runners would trample the streets in London, whereas on Easter Sundays the Pope would deal with the lots in St Peter’s Sq.. Gathering was one thing we loved doing, somewhat loads.

On this collection of images, we take a look at how, over 12 months, the pandemic has remodeled among the world’s busiest sights. To not solely remind us of what we have now misplaced but additionally of what we are able to sit up for as soon as the world returns to regular, each time that may be.

Occasions Sq.

Of the 66 million individuals who got here to New York Metropolis in 2019, it’s estimated that fifty million paid a go to to the hyperactive coronary heart of Manhattan: Occasions Sq.. In pre-pandemic occasions, lots of of hundreds of pedestrians would move via every day, however through the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 it has been abandoned.

On New Yr’s Eve, solely a choose handful of key employees and particular friends had been invited to observe the ball drop – an occasion which often attracts big crowds. What does the long run maintain, for tourism within the Huge Apple?

Town’s tourism promotion company, NYC & Firm, forecasts they will not be again to 2019 numbers till 2025.

“It’s going to be a really sluggish construct initially,” stated CEO Fred Dixon. America is without doubt one of the worst-affected international locations on the planet, with 28.3 million circumstances and simply shy of 500,000 deaths. Nevertheless, it’s main the cost on the subject of vaccinations – it has issued 55 million doses, greater than every other nation, amounting to 16 per cent of the inhabitants.

Times Square


For the primary time since 1988, London’s inhabitants is in decline. The Financial Statistics Centre of Excellence predicts the town’s inhabitants might drop by as a lot as 700,000 over the following 12 months. The rise in house working resulting from Covid-19 lockdowns, dropping beginning charges and an exodus of EU residents after Brexit are all contributing to the decline. Even through the months when the UK was out of lockdown, some corners of the Metropolis, like Leadenhall Market, noticed declines in footfall as workplace employees stayed at house.

Leadenhall Market, London

Buckingham Palace

Unsurprisingly, tourism is down in London, too. The 9.7 million vacationers who got here in 2020 spent roughly £5.7 billion, in comparison with the £24.7 billion spent by the 32.3 million who visited the 12 months earlier than. Go to Britain is optimistic that tourism in 2021 might be up 21% on 2020 figures.

Buckinham Palace, London

London Marathon

The London Marathon seemed barely totally different in 2020. In contrast to typical years, if you would see tens of hundreds of runners take to the streets in all method of comedy costumes, because of the pandemic solely 92 elite athletes took half. This didn’t cease most people from becoming a member of in; some 43,000 individuals participated in a ‘digital marathon’ nearer to house, elevating tens of millions for charity.


The cancellation of the Edinburgh Fringe was an enormous loss for the town. Greater than 25,000 artists, writers and performers from all over the world often participate within the occasion. Nicola Sturgeon described the choice as “heartbreaking, however the best resolution”. It’s nonetheless but to be seen whether or not the Fringe will go forward in 2021.


The world round Cardiff’s Millennium Centre is often a hub of exercise, with meals stands and leisure for kids in the summertime. Throughout the Covid-19 lockdowns and ‘firebreaks’, it has been one thing of a ghost city. So far, Wales has recorded 197,000 circumstances of Covid-19 and 5,032 deaths.

Cardiff, Wales

Eiffel Tower

For the primary time since World Battle Two, the Eiffel Tower has been closed to friends for a lot of months over the previous 12 months. Nevertheless, Gustav Eiffel’s architectural set-piece hasn’t been forgotten about.

It was introduced earlier this month that the tower might be turning gold forward of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Video games, a challenge that may reportedly value €50 million.

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Allegedly, that is the color that Eiffel initially supposed for the tower – somewhat than the brown hue it has sported since 1968. Paris would be the third metropolis (the opposite being London) to have hosted three Olympics – in 1900, 1924 and 2024, and the Eiffel Tower will kind the symbolic backdrop for a variety of occasions, together with the triathlon and open-water swimming occasions.


Probably the world’s most well-known portray, previous to the pandemic the Mona Lisa would entice 30,000 each day visits – jostling for area with selfie sticks in hand. For months in 2020, she was not seen by a single pair of eyes. In complete, visits to the Louvre had been down from 9.6 million in 2019 to 2.7 million in 2020.

Mona Lisa


Within the years main as much as the pandemic, Barcelona was beneath stress for its dealing with of so-called “overtourism”, with short-term lettings websites like Airbnb pushing up the price of lease within the metropolis. In 2020, the speaking level of the town was the absence, not extra, of vacationers as strict journey bans got here into power. Pere Mariné, a local of the town’s Poblenou neighbourhood, stated in Might: “We’re having fun with the clear air, the calm, the silence, the peacefulness, above all as a result of we’re not used to it. However we additionally miss the lifetime of the town, the nice and the dangerous.”

Las Ramblas, Barcelona


In February and March of 2020, Italy grew to become the epicentre of the pandemic in Europe. After circumstances boomed, all non-essential manufacturing and business exercise stopped for 10 weeks from March to Might – the primary nation in Europe to enter a nationwide lockdown. So far, Italy has recorded greater than 2.6 million circumstances, though France, Spain and the UK now have greater case totals.

The Duomo, Milan


Carnival season often brings color and frivolity to the floating metropolis, pumping some much-needed cash into the native economic system through the quiet winter season. In regular years, for 2 weeks this most magical of cities fills with a mass of masked party-goers – posing and preening, dancing and philandering, in a barely surreal re-invention of an excellent custom of the town.

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Not so, in 2021. The three million vacationers who would sometimes attend had been absent, that means solely a handful of residents took half. On Sunday, February 14, the final one in all Carnival season, St Mark’s Sq. was occupied by a smattering of locals, lots of whom would often flee the town throughout these hectic weeks.

“It’s so odd to solely hear Italian being spoken right here,” stated a masked Venetian girl dressed as a courtesan. “I don’t know if I prefer it this manner. It simply doesn’t seem to be Carnival.” The final time the carnival was cancelled was in 1991, because of the Gulf Battle.

A canal in Venice

All photos supplied by Getty

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