Elidérico Viegas, president of AHETA (the association of hoteliers of the Algarve) confirms “there is a growing demand, which opens up good prospects” for the high season – while in Great Britain the platforms in line of tour operators were inundated.
David Child, head of public relations and branding at Thomas Cook, said bookings for Portugal were “through the roof” right after the announcement, as impatient travelers were “ready, ready to go”.
“We took the first hour from 5 pm to 6 pm as many reservations in Portugal as the whole month of April,” he said.
HomeToGo, one of the largest vacation rental search engines reported that “searches for overseas vacation homes with an arrival date between May 17 and May 31 jumped 113%” which concerns Portugal – the Algarve destinations being the five most sought-after spots in Portugal.
These destinations are Albufeira in first place, followed by Vilamoura, Carvoeiro, Tavira and Alvor.
Outside the Algarve, Madeira, Lisbon, Cascais and Porto are other places that attract travelers.
But there are still major questions, especially regarding the cost and availability of PCR testing for return travel.
A number of potential holidaymakers have contacted the resident: they want to know if the bars are open (which is not yet the case) and they ask questions such as “will Faro airport set up? pre-departure tests so you can take a test? when you arrive at the airport?
The answer to the last question is again most likely ‘no’ if unvaccinated people are to present negative Covid PCR tests. These tests generally take at least 24 hours to report their results.
Other “unknowns” are the amount of travel that will be “slowed down” by the need for airport checks on arrival (and departure).
Reports in the UK press suggested that passengers could take up to “six hours” to be screened in both directions.
In other words: there are still a number of uncertainties – but the will at least is there, and clearly anxious to go.
One question we were asked is “can people travel with a single two-dose vaccine without having to take a PCR test?” The answer to this question appears to be ‘no’ as the stipulation for vaccinated travel within the EU is that passengers must have completed their series of vaccines at least two weeks prior to arrival (click here). If they haven’t, they will still be required to pass PCR tests on the outbound and return trips.
Price is usually another concern. Will hotels increase them? Will the airlines increase them?
The answer to the first is “at the moment hotels are not raising prices”, but the second has already received a response.
LBC radio reports that “before Friday’s announcement, demand for flights to Portugal had already pushed up prices as holidaymakers anticipated its ecological categorization.
“On Friday night, one of the more expensive travel options for May 17 appeared to be a British Airways flight from Heathrow to Faro in the Algarve, costing £ 436 or £ 530 depending on the time of day.”
On the same day, low-cost airline Ryanair was however offering flights from London Stansted to Lisbon for £ 65 – so some good deals could be ‘there’.
There may also be changes in the requirement for PCR testing.
UK sources told us that ‘Portugal may not request a clear PCR test on arrival by June – and we have heard that free lateral flow tests will be distributed at UK airports for testing before the return to the United Kingdom. . This leaves a single expensive PCR test in the UK within two days of return ”.
Even if that happens, it will still add at least an additional £ 200 to the cost of the holiday for a family of four. Thus, further information expected in the coming weeks will help British citizens decide how far they are willing to go to escape to the southern sun.