“This is a year in which everything happened and the end of the year was already very limited, both by the rules that are observed all over Europe, which are our main markets [of tourists to the Algarve], but also in the national market. And this is yet another adversity, which obviously also has an effect on the region, which is the main gateway for British people to enter the country”, said João Fernandes to the Lusa News Agency.

The President of the Tourism Algarve Region (RTA) thus reacted to the decision announced on 20 December by the Portuguese Government to impose restrictions on the entry of passengers on flights from the United Kingdom to Portugal, authorising only the entry of nationals or legally resident in Portugal, upon presentation of a negative laboratory test of covid-19.

"We had planned about 40 commercial flights - in addition to the planes that arrive at Faro airport with some regularity - for this week's exercise, from Monday to Sunday", said the president of the RTA when referring to the impact that the decision of the Portuguese Government.

João Fernandes acknowledged that the region will “see some cancellations” of these flights, but considered that “the great exercise that the Algarve now has ahead of it is to reach Easter as a safe destination” with regard to the covid-19 pandemic.

“Obviously, it is very important that we take care of all the issues in this matter. It is no accident that all European countries are observing restrictions very similar to those that the Portuguese Government has also presented”, he added.

Asked if even the resumption from Easter may be in question, João Fernandes replied that “it is premature” to make this prediction “when specialists and epidemiologists still reveal a lot of ignorance about this new strain” of the new coronavirus (SARS-Cov- 2), which was detected in the south of England and led several countries to restrict air connections from the United Kingdom.