Alongside press from around the world and representatives from the Algarve tourism board, were eager friends and family waiting to welcome people to the Algarve.

Most people as they emerged from the arrivals of the airport were smiling and almost all remarked about the hot weather, in contrast to the cold temperatures that many in the UK have been experiencing recently.

Young couple John and Steff, told The Portugal News that they had tried to come to Portugal last year for a holiday but weren’t able to because of the travel restrictions in place at the time. It is not their first time in Portugal and they were heading to Albufeira for a five night short holiday.

“The last time we were here we went to nightclubs but we understand the rules that are in place now. We decided to book as soon as we saw the announcement”.

Another couple who had chosen the Algarve for a holiday once they heard the announcement regarding Portugal being on the green list and welcoming tourists to the country.

Students Adam and Jordan have travelled from Manchester to enjoy some time in the sunshine and have booked a short stay in Carvoeiro. Both have been vaccinated and feel very happy to be in the sunshine. “We booked on Friday as soon as we heard the news. We are very happy to be here”.

Others arriving at the airport we happy return to their holiday home or permanent residences. Lynne and Ian Drennan said: “We are so excited to be back in the Algarve again. We have had lots of bad weather in the UK so we are very happy to be back again”. The couple have a property in Tavira and have been waiting six months to be able to return.

Head of Algarve tourism João Fernandes was also present at the airport, welcoming tourists as they arrive and handing out free face masks.

He said that today there are 17 flights coming into the Algarve from the UK, representing a total of 5,500 seats, while there are also flights from other destinations.

“This reopening of activity is like an oxygen balloon for us, we can breathe again,” he told The Portugal News, “We hope that this year will be better than last one”.

Read the full story in the upcoming edition of The Portugal News