Portugal will allow UK vacationers to enter from Monday, the national tourism authority said, which breathed a sigh of relief to hotel owners who were already inundated with bookings after the UK approved the trip from that day.
The UK put Portugal, whose economy is heavily reliant on tourism, especially the UK, on a “green” list of overseas travel destinations a week ago so that Brits can travel there without being quarantined on their return from COVID-19. Continue reading
European Union regulations do not prohibit substantial travel from outside the bloc, making Portugal’s decision to allow tourists in the UK an exception.
“We are very excited about this news. The effects of the decision can be felt in all types of hotels, from hostels to five-star hotels,” said Eliderico Viegas, head of the regional hotel association in the Algarve.
UK tourists are required to provide evidence of negative PCR 72 hours prior to departure, said the Turismo de Portugal agency, which is part of the Department of Commerce.
EasyJet airline (EZJ.L)The British travel agency Thomas Cook, where bookings to Portugal had tripled in the past week, also welcomed the news.
“We have hundreds of customers with their suitcases packed,” said a Thomas Cook spokesman.
On Monday, EU leaders will discuss a proposal to ease travel restrictions on people outside the bloc who have been fully vaccinated or come from countries with low numbers of cases.
‘A BIT LATE’
Thousands of British tourists rushed to book their vacations the week of the UK’s green list announcement. The data from the flight website Skyscanner shows an increase in bookings of 616% compared to the previous week.
But as May 17th approached with no news from Portugal, some vacationers had begun to cancel their plans, said Pedro Ribeiro, director of the Portuguese hotel chain Dom Pedro.
The delay in Portugal’s announcement “caused stress and complications,” said Ribeiro.
“We’ve had some cancellations and changes to bookings. It’s a little late but we know the issue had to be dealt with diplomacy.”
The Tourism Bureau said authorities were ensuring Portugal’s testing capacity met tourist demand and increasing air travel capacity between the UK and Portugal.
Portugal, which has reported around 300 to 400 new COVID-19 cases daily for the past month and recorded no new deaths on Friday, lifted most of its lockdown rules but bars and clubs remain closed. Restaurants must close at 10:30 PM and masks are mandatory in crowded spaces and indoors.
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