Portugal was not put on the UK’s safe travel list earlier in July along with other popular holiday destinations. Many UK holidaymakers are keen to return to the popular Mediterranean country following the opening up of other ‘air bridges’ earlier in July.
But now it is understood that Portugal, one of the most popular countries for British holidaymakers, will be added to the list of 59 to which UK travellers can holiday without the need to self isolate on arrival or return.
The Portuguese Government have been lobbying the UK Government to reopen the prospect of air travel between the two countries after it was left out of the original list announced earlier in July.
Last year the Mediterranean country welcomed some 2.1million visitors from the UK to its shores, and the UK is a key sector in Portugal’s tourist industry.
Popular destinations such as Spain are still on the list despite a rise in cases, furthering the Portuguese Government’s calls.
The UK Government released the full list of “safe” countries earlier this month, which lowered the travel ban and stopped the quarantine restrictions when returning to the UK.
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When can I travel to Portugal?
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to announce changes to travel restrictions on Monday following lobbying from the Portuguese Government which was angered by the ‘absurd’ decision.
Portugal has seen its new cases slow to 127 a day, the lowest since May 11, although parts of Lisbon have sparked concern and remain in partial lockdown.
Mr Shapps has confirmed the Government will be making ‘more announcements’ on international travel on Monday.
Speaking to Sky News, he said: “I will be talking more about the way forward on things like international travel corridors then.
“But now, each week actually, we are reviewing and, where required, updating the list of countries it’s safe to travel to.”
Coronavirus cases are lower in popular tourist destinations such as the Algarve, the Azores Islands and Madeira.
The Foreign Office has already lifted the ban on non-essential travel to the latter two.
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The Department of Transport has also suggested there could be scope for testing passengers for COVID-19 before embarking on a holiday.
It has also suggested there could be testing on arrival at UK airports, to help open up travel with other countries like the USA.
Portugal is home to some of the most popular travel destinations in Europe, so holidaymakers are keen to get back to the country’s beautiful beaches and historic towns.
Despite UK rules, travellers from numerous other European countries have been given the green light by their respective Governments – so the UK’s approach has been something of a sore spot for the Portuguese tourism industry.
The president of Turismo de Portugal, Luis Araújo, said: “Portugal has been welcoming international visitors and the tourism industry has been in operation for several weeks now.
He added: “The situation at the moment remains to be that people who travel from the United Kingdom are 100 percent welcome and able to visit Portugal, without the need to quarantine upon arrival.”
The sounds from the Government are promising, and suggest that regional air bridges could be announced as soon as Monday.
So if you are looking to book a getaway, this is the space to watch.
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