Speaking to Sky News, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that Portugal had been moved to the amber list which will now mean that mandatory quarantine is required upon arrival in the UK when travelling from Portugal.
Shapps said that countries on the amber list should not be considered as destinations for holiday travel.
He said that the government was also concerned about rising numbers of cases in the UK linked to the Nepal and Indian variant.
Rumours about the change in travel status had been abound throughout the day leading to shares in British airlines falling.
By 3:50 pm (Lisbon time), EasyJet’s shares were down 6.07%, while those of the International Airlines Group (IAG) retreated 5.67%. In turn, Ryanair’s bonds were losing 4.26% and TUI’s 3.87%.
“The Government has again ignored the tourism sector by refusing to add new destinations to the already narrow green list,” said senior vice president of the World Travel and Tourism Council, Virginia Messina, quoted by Bloomberg.
Virgínia Messina also stressed that the exclusion of Portugal will “destroy the confidence needed to travel, reduce future reservations and dissuade tourists”.
Portugal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has criticised the UK’s decision to remove Portugal including Madeira and the Azores from its Green List of destinations.
On Twitter the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it “struggled to find logic” in the decision, while the Algarve Regional Tourism Board said the move was "tremendously unfair" and already having an impact on reservations.