Responding yesterday to the news that Portugal is excluded from a list of 74 countries and territories that will soon be exempt from the quarantine rules of the United Kingdom, the president of Turismo de Portugal, Luis Araújo, condemned a decision that will deprive the Portuguese travel industry its biggest source of visitors this summer.
“We are extremely disappointed to learn that the British government has made the decision to omit Portugal from the airlift agreement,” said Araújo.
“The reality in Portugal is completely different from that described by this decision. We maintain and fully underscore the unshakable confidence in the security of the nation to welcome international visitors again.
“From our point of view, the whole national territory should have been correctly included in the transport corridor of the United Kingdom because of the control of the epidemic.”
Mr. Araújo also criticized the British government’s decision to continue requiring all arrivals from Portugal to be quarantined for two weeks on the same day, the FCO lowered its travel warning for Madeira and the Azores, which means that he no longer advises “all but essential travel to the Portuguese islands.
“We must remain completely honest when we express our perplexity at such a decision and a confusing message,” he said.
Turismo de Portugal reported statistics claiming that since the beginning of May the number of Covid-19 cases admitted to Portuguese intensive care units has halved, overall hospitalization has decreased by 60% and that has only 13,000 cases nationwide.
The organization also highlighted the fact that Portugal was the first European country to receive the “Travel Safe” stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council, demonstrating internationally accepted safety and hygiene standards.
However, a recent increase in the number of new infections has dissuaded British officials from lifting the travel restrictions imposed on his long-standing Iberian ally.
Each year, some three million British travelers travel to Portugal, making up almost a fifth of the country’s tourism market.
The Algarve, in southern Portugal, is the third most popular destination in Europe among British holidaymakers, although travel to the country has been severely restricted since the coronavirus pandemic forced Portuguese authorities to shut down borders in March.