Portugal prepares for summer holiday season

in News · 05-06-2020 01:00:00 · 7 Comments

While doubts still remain about when a full flight schedule between Portugal and the rest of the world will again open up, Portugal’s foreign minister has said that UK tourists considering a holiday in Portugal this year would be “most welcome”.

In an interview with the BBC, foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva also said that he was hopeful that an “air bridge” between the UK and Portugal could be finalised by as early as the end of the month. Such an agreement could allow for any visitors returning from a visit to Portugal to avoid quarantine rules back in the UK.

When discussing quarantines for tourists and travellers, the minister described these as being “an enemy of tourism”, however he stated that he respected any decisions being taken by the UK government regarding arrivals into their own country.

When it came to the matter of discussing quarantine for those arriving in Portugal, Santos Silva said that Portugal would not be imposing this and added that talks were ongoing between the two governments to confirm certain “rules” that need to be in place.

According to Santos Silva, the country will be relying on temperature checks at the airports and there is also the possibility of random testing being applied to passengers, as part of an EU coordination.

Portugal may be welcoming visitors to the country this summer, however the country will be very different for those who are regular visitors, with restrictions on bars, restaurants, tourist attractions and nightlife still in place to allow for social distancing to be maintained and to reduce the amount of people gathering at any time.

Currently, establishments are only able to stay open until 11pm at night, a far cry from the early hours closing times experienced in tourism hot spots across the country in the past.

Beaches in Portugal are open to the public from 6 June however a new traffic light system will be in place to allow beach goers to be able to assess how busy each beach is before they travel thanks to an app. Those enjoying beaches will also have to adhere to social distancing rules which include distances between groups and shades.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State and Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, said in parliament this week that the tourism sector “will certainly have a slower recovery” but that, on the demand side, both the Government and the businessmen of the sector are “less pessimistic” about the situation than a month ago.

Pedro Siza Vieira also highlighted the hypothesis of the creation of air corridors within Europe and revealed that, in the case of Portugal, negotiations with Germany are already at an advanced stage as well as those being discussed with the UK.

Last year, the United Kingdom maintained its dominance within the tourism market in Portugal. Between 2013 and 2019, the number of British guests in Portugal doubled, reaching 2.1 million in 2019 with the Brits favourite tourist spot being the Algarve where British tourists accounted for more than a third of the total overnight stays.

This year is looking like a very different story for the Algarve with occupancy levels expected to reach only 30 percent, something that “had never been experienced” in the region, said the president of the Portuguese Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (APAVT).
“Any dialogue you have with travel agents and hoteliers in the Algarve, if we think about June, July, August and September, we will be talking, at best, about 30 percent occupation or business level,” said Pedro Costa Ferreira during a digital conference.

Pedro Costa Ferreira pointed out that the number reveals “a 70 percent drop” in turnover in the Algarve, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, “something that had never been experienced as a company or region”, but, even so, “much better than the April prospects”.
The official defended that this is a different crisis from the others experienced before, since “it is a disruption of supply and demand” and that “it will affect the regions of Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve much more”, compared to other areas of the country.

In the specific case of the Algarve, as it is “the region that depends most on tourism and international air bridges”, he stressed.
“The big challenge will be to maintain a reference structure for the Algarve’s hotel and entertainment offer”, he suggested, emphasising that the Algarve “has to survive the crisis”.

With the beginning of the lack of definition and the arrival of the first international flights to the Algarve region, the president of APAVT underlined that the first steps “are essential to increase confidence and generate an increase in demand”.

While Portugal prepares to welcome British tourists it is a different story across the border with Spain. According to a report by the BBC, the Spanish government has revealed that it will only allow British tourists into Spain this summer if the rate of Covid-19 infection in the United Kingdom decreases significantly, and mandatory quarantine is also expected.


So you show some other things.

By joura from UK on 06-06-2020 09:13

I need visa.

By Morshed Sarwar Bappy from Other on 05-06-2020 07:04

Speaking as a Canadian, we are doing good here flattening the curve. The US is dismal, worse than Brazil. So I agree, Portugal needs to better assess it's safety measures. also, in Canada and USA, doubtful anyone in retirement age group will travel to Portugal. Why? Simple, no healtb care travel Insurance during this covid world. No one will travel to Europe unless they are crazy or Uber rich.

By Jeanette DeRosario from Other on 05-06-2020 05:10

I read an article yesterday that Portugal is allowing countries in Schengen scheme into Portugal except Uk,France,Spain.but are allowing people from Portuguese speaking countries including Brazil which in in a horrifying state at the moment have I read this wrong or was it fake news.because if it is true We cannot believe and would seriously think of leaving Portugal where we are permanent residents,cannot believe its true.

By Margaret Stephenson from Beiras on 05-06-2020 01:24

Tourism could open more if more countries who have better control of the virus were on the list like New Zealand and Australia. Instead we're focused on number of Portuguese expats in countries with the worst numbers

By Caitlin Hagar from Lisbon on 05-06-2020 01:13

You're most welcome as long as you don't have a motorhome. Then they'll hunt and fine you...hypocrits.

By Fred Doe from Algarve on 05-06-2020 10:50

11 pm is a joke for one bar in Monte Gordo, open throughout the lockdown and now closes between 4 and 6am every night or should I say morning.

By Julie Wiles from Algarve on 05-06-2020 10:46
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