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What a tourism disaster looks like

CityLab Daily

The party's over: The beach towns of Spain are usually packed with tourists every summer, but this year's pandemic slashed the number of visitors. What were once busy streets are now, well into autumn, lined with deserted bars, clubs and other nightspots that could vanish within the next few years. A new photo series from Paris-based photographer Francois Prost captures both the eerie emptiness and the faded splendor of a once-booming economy hit hard by Covid-19 travel restrictions. 

Photographer: Francois Prost

Taken during a drive from the city of Alicante to the French border this fall, the photos in "Discoteca" feature the brightly painted concrete venues with oversized signs designed to be readable from a car — an aesthetic imported from the breezy American consumer culture of the 1960s and '70s. The long-term fading present in these photos suggests that the existential threat these businesses face began even before the pandemic hit, as travel preferences changed over the years, writes Feargus O'Sullivan. "I thought it would be interesting to commemorate these places right now, because who knows what's going to happen there in the next few years?" said Prost. Today on CityLab: The Empty Spanish Resorts of Covid Summer

-Linda Poon

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