At practically the 11th hour, the Portuguese government has reversed its policy of allowing only ‘essential’ travel into the country from UK.
This means that from 00.00 hours on Monday (March 17) – the day Brits have been given the green light from their own government for quarantine free travel here – Portugal will be ready to receive them.
Foreign affairs minister Augusto Santos Silva has told Lusa that all travellers will need is a negative Covid (PCR) test taken 72-hours prior to boarding their flights.
Turismo de Portugal, the Algarve Tourism Association – and the entire Portuguese hospitality sector – is finally able to breathe easily again.
These last few days – with reports coming thick and fast in UK suggesting passengers ‘could be turned back’ if they arrived before the ‘non-essential travel ban’ was lifted – have been a complete nightmare for everyone connected to Portuguese tourism.
There was never any doubt that the country would be ready to receive holidaymakers from May 17 – but in the absence of an official announcement, it was impossible to counter the negative reports generated by the British media.
President of Algarve Tourism Association João Fernandes welcomed the decision this afternoon saying the greatest fears had been that Britons would be influenced by British press reports and start cancelling reservations that have been flooding into the region since Portugal was ‘green listed’ for safe travel last week.
Now, it’s just a question of waiting.
Monday cannot come too soon.
A statement from Turismo de Portugal has stressed that the number of flights into the country has been massively reinforced by 21 airports in UK, so there is no reason for anyone who wants to come not to get here.