The Department for Transport in the UK has confirmed that UK visitors to Portugal will no longer have to quarantine on return from the country. However, those returning from Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago will now have to self-isolate for 14 days. This was revealed by transport secretary Grant Shapps as he made the announcement via Twitter.
Portugal has joined the list of countries exempt from the FCO’s blanket advice against all but essential travel. Changes will come into effect from 22 August.
Shapps said a range of factors are taken into account when assessing travel corridors, including but not limited to: estimated prevalence of Covid-19 in a country; the level and rate of change in the incidence of confirmed positive cases; the extent of testing in a country.
Virginia Messina, WTTC managing director, said: “WTTC is relieved that thousands of British holidaymakers can now at long last go on holiday to Portugal thanks to the country finally being removed from the UK government’s quarantine list. This news is a welcome shot in the arm for the fragile travel sector – both in the UK and Portugal. We hope it will also go some way to restoring the confidence of consumers to travel in safety again and enjoy a late summer holiday away.”
An ABTA spokesperson said: “Portugal is a popular destination among British holidaymakers and a place where the weather usually remains pleasant late into winter-time. The news that holidaymakers can still enjoy a much-deserved break in this country will be welcomed by travellers and the travel industry alike.”
Luis Araújo, president of Turismo de Portugal said: “We are delighted to have the UK government confirmation for Portugal’s inclusion in an air bridge arrangement to prevent mandatory quarantine upon return to the UK. For quite some time now tourism and government officials have consistently maintained our unwavering confidence in the safety of Portugal as a result of a thoroughly efficient and effective multi-sector strategy to contain the virus as early as possible and the implementation of concise measures and infrastructure with the capacity to prepare the tourism sector for a safe reopening. We are now delighted to have arrived at a decision which we feel far better reflects the reality of the situation in Portugal.
“We expect a significant increase in bookings following the new announcement. The Algarve is the third most popular European destination for British travellers and this lifting of quarantine restrictions enables our UK guests to return and experience the second half of the summer season,” Sean Moriarty, chief executive of Algarve’s resort Quinta do Lago said.
Since May, Portugal has been considered an example in leading the fight against Covid-19, namely as a result of the extensive testing, which ranks in the top 10 highest European nations to test over one million people, with more than 1.8 million tests completed and rising. From then until now, all indicators have evolved favourably, with the number of active cases decreasing on linearly.