Portugal could reopen its borders to tourists in time for the summer holiday seasons, however with strict protocols in place for visitors. Only holidaymakers from select countries will be welcomed, and they must meet certain criteria in order to enter.
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Although the country has yet to make an official statement, comments from the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs suggest that tourists will be welcomed in time for the peak vacation season.
Speaking to local media about the impending summer season Minister Augusto Santos Silva said: “Tourists are welcome in Portugal.”
However, it is thought that special safety checks will be in place which will see tourists being asked to prove they are not carrying the COVID-19 virus.
What’s more, Portugal may set out a “white list”, much like other European countries, to determine which nations will be allowed to visit.
According to Mr Santos Silva, travellers from the Schengen Area, with the exception of Italy and Spain, as well as visitors from Canada, Brazil, the USA and Portuguese speaking countries could be given the green light.
However, this has not yet been confirmed and so far the government has made no suggestions that any countries will be “banned”.
While Portugal is yet to verify an exact date for resuming tourism, some regions of Portugal have already announced their own plans for reigniting tourism.
Autonomous region Madeira is set to welcome back foreign tourists from July 1, with travellers being asked to present negative test results confirming they do not have the virus on arrival. Madeira is also offering to cover the costs of tests for tourists when they land.
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“Madeira Islands are focused on positioning as a COVID-safe destination,” said the country’s tourism officials.
“Furthermore, Madeira was a pioneer in the whole of Portugal in developing a good practices document to deal with COVID-19. These measures will provide comfort to those who travel and it is ultimately for the wellbeing of all.”
Similarly, The Algarve tourist board has spoken out about plans to welcome back visitors and reopen hotels.
The board said it is “ready to restart its tourist activity”, with beaches reopening on June 6.
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Portugal and the UK may also put in place an “air bridge” which would allow travellers to fly between countries without the need for a 14-day quarantine period.
Air bridges have been suggested by a number of airlines who fear that the suggested mandatory 14-day quarantine period would be catastrophic for both British tourists heading abroad, and those who might want to visit the UK.
Select flights operated by Wizz Air are already flying from London to Lisbon, with other budget airlines promising to restart operations to a number of European destinations in July.
Portugal is the latest country to announce plans to reopen, after Greece made a dramatic U-turn to welcome British tourists after initially suggesting they would not be welcome to enter the nation.
Britons are now able to enter Greece from the end of June, though will be subject to testing upon arrival due to the UK’s rate of infection.
If an individual tests negative then they will need to quarantine for seven days on arrival.
The country’s new rules state that the UK along with other countries with the same COVID-19 data will be allowed to return if they adhere to quarantine rules.
Greece has also collated a list of 29 countries it deems safe, including Australia, Germany, China and Finland.
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