UK restriction-free travel approved!
Non-essential travel to and from the United Kingdom has been given the green light, this time by the Portuguese government.
From midnight on Monday travellers from the UK to Portugal will simply have to show a negative Covid-19 test carried out 72 hours beforehand.
The decision was taken by the government today (Friday, 14 May) said a spokesman from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the Portuguese foreign minister, Augusto Santos Silva.
It had been feared that the Portuguese government, representing an EU member state and hosting the 6-month rotating presidency of the EU Council would have to follow existing EU guidelines for non-essential travel from outside the EU.
Now with this decision, which will come into force from midnight on the 17 May, the UK will be on the “list of countries whose epidemiological situation allows any travel to be undertaken providing a negative PCR test is presented before travel and which has been taken 72 hours before the flight date.”
It was feared, said the Times, that thousands of British holidaymakers due to visit Portugal next week might have faced difficulties entering the country as it had banned non-essential travel from non-EU states.
Reversing the ban was diplomatically delicate said a senior Portuguese official to the Times because “Lisbon holds the EU presidency and the EU still recommends the ban to member states.
A communiqué in English from the Portuguese tourist board Turismo de Portugal had said that the decision would be taken on Friday by the government, adding that “airports had “increased their capacity because of demand from this market and that there were ample options for British tourists to visit Portugal from any place.”
In the Algarve the decision was welcomed by local businesses and residents as more than 20 flights from the UK are expected to land at Faro on Monday with bookings from UK tourists skyrocketing.
The Portuguese Hotel Association (AHP) said this week that the Algarve should be given priority in the national vaccination programme as the regions is the “main tourist destination in Portugal” and its economy “largely depends on the sector.”