Last weekend we had about 20,000 British going back to the United Kingdom from Faro airport, but what is interesting is that we had about 6,000 British people, despite the new rules, arriving during the weekend, which is a clear sign of confidence in the Algarve at a time when the British government is forcing people to quarantine when they return”, João Fernandes told The Portugal News.
“We are aware that it was a political decision of the British government and it is unfair because when analysing the arguments we realise that these are rather weak arguments, refuted even by the British virologists. Therefore, the British government has the right to decide on the rules to be applied to British travel, but it must not present its decisions while damaging the image of other countries”, revealed João Fernandes.
In fact, Portugal was once again distinguished as a safe destination. “A report just came out last week from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which is a European institution that evaluates the level of countries risk, and Portugal appears once again as one of the three countries with the fewest cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks”, he said.
For this reason, “the Algarve will continue its path of easing of lockdown, will maintain its activity with the national and international markets and will keep on welcoming all the British people who want to visit us”, said João Fernandes.
Thus, in addition to the United Kingdom, he also pointed as main markets for the Algarve, the domestic market but also countries such as France, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands.
“During the summer the greatest demand is from national tourism, then we have a set of markets ranging from Germany, France, Netherlands, Ireland and Spain that are part of our main markets for the Algarve, but obviously we also continue to try to diversify our markets, like Belgium, Brazil, USA and Canada”, he said, admitting, however, that this transatlantic process will take longer to resume.
According to Fernandes, the Algarve Tourism Board has campaigns in more than eight European countries, including airlines and travel operators that are not dependent on this UK Government decision. One of them is with easyJet, which is going to decorate one of their aircrafts with the “visitAlgarve” logo to celebrate the inauguration, on 15 June, of a new easyJet base at Faro Airport.
For those who are still going back to the United Kingdom, João Fernandes informed, regarding the paperwork needed to return to the UK, namely the passenger locator form that has to be done online, that hotels are also prepared to deal with this if people ask for help and he suggested for tourists to do the paperwork in good time, without leaving it to the last minute.
Regarding testing, João Fernandes also recalled that the airport is supposed to be the a last resort and people shouldn’t be tested at the airport, “because there are more than 100 places in the Algarve where it is possible to do the test before going to the airport and where you won't have to wait so long”.
Finally, he recalled that the Algarve Tourism Board has created two support lines (+351 931 125 106 | +351 289 818 582) in order to help tourists in finding the closest lab to get their tests and provide any kind of support about the testing sites that tourists might need.