Portugal will allow British holidaymakers to enter from Monday, the National Tourism Board said, prompting a sigh of relief from hotel owners already inundated with bookings after Britain was given the green light to travel since that day.
Britain added Portugal, whose economy relies heavily on tourism, particularly the UK, to a “green” list of foreign destinations a week ago, allowing Britons to get there without having to travel. need to quarantine COVID-19 when they return home. Read more
European Union rules ban non-essential travel from outside the bloc, making Portugal’s decision to allow British tourists to be an exception.
“We are very excited about this news. The impact of the decision is being felt in all types of hotels, from hostels to five stars,” said Eliderico Viegas, head of the Algarve Regional Hotel Association .
British tourists must show proof of a negative PCR taken 72 hours before departure, said the Turismo de Portugal authority, which is part of the Economy Ministry.
Airline EasyJet (EZJ.L), which added around 100,000 additional seats for flights to Portugal over the summer, and British travel agency Thomas Cook, where bookings to Portugal have tripled over the course of the summer. from last week, also welcomed the news.
âWe have hundreds of customers with their suitcases packed,â a Thomas Cook spokesperson said.
EU leaders are due to discuss a proposal on Monday to ease travel restrictions for people outside the bloc who have been fully vaccinated or who have come from countries with low cases.
‘A BIT LATE’
Thousands of UK tourists rushed to book their holidays within the week of Britain’s green list announcement, data from the Skyscanner flights website showing a 616% increase in bookings from week to week the other.
But as May 17 drew near with no news from Portugal, some vacationers had started to cancel their plans, said Pedro Ribeiro, director of the Portuguese hotel chain Dom Pedro.
The delay in announcing from Portugal “created stress and complications,” said Ribeiro.
“We have had cancellations and changes to reservations in the past. It comes a bit late, but we know the issue had to be treated diplomatically.”
The tourist office said authorities were making sure Portugal’s testing capacity met tourist demand and that airlift capacity between Britain and Portugal was boosted.
Portugal, which reported around 300 to 400 new cases of COVID-19 per day over the past month and no new deaths on Friday, lifted the majority of lockdown rules, but bars and clubs remain closed, restaurants must close at 10:30 p.m. and masks are mandatory in crowded spaces and indoors.
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