UK air restrictions with no scientific basis

in News · 17-07-2020 01:00:00 · 11 Comments

The Minister of Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, has stated that the United Kingdom’s decision to leave Portugal off the list of safe destinations to travel has no scientific basis, even with the criterion that the country chose to follow.

The Minister of State, Economy and Digital Transition participated in a conference organised jointly by the news agencies Lusa and the Spanish EFE, with the theme “Tourism in times of Covid-19”, when he stated that the decision of the UK, one of the main tourist markets for Portugal, was taken “without scientific basis, even adopting the criterion that it decided to follow”.

“These are completely different situations, that are happening in Lisbon and in the rest of the territory that has a low rate on incidence”, he added.

The official also underlined that the availability of the national health system was never under a “stress” situation, and is dealing well with the response to the pandemic.

The UK is the main tourist market for Portugal, representing 19.2 percent of overnight stays from foreigners in 2019 and has been recording successive growth since 2013, only interrupted in 2018, according to data from INE.

The preferred destinations for British guests are the Algarve (63.8 percent of overnight stays in the market), Madeira (18.5 percent) and the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon (10.8 percent).

On 3 July, the United Kingdom announced which “international travel corridors” it would resume from the 10 July, excluding Portugal from that list.

Portuguese diplomacy already reacted, considering the UK’s decision of excluding Portugal from the “international travel corridors” as “absurd”, “wrong” and a decision that causes “great disappointment”, bringing several economic consequences and mutual trust issues.
In the conference, Pedro Siza Vieira also said that he is convinced that Portugal “due to its ability to present itself to the world as a safe destination”, with a great diversity of landscapes and cultural environments, will return to the centre of consumer preferences.

“During this time, which is from now until we recover the travel flow that we all hope for, it is very important to have the capacity to support the thousands of companies, many of them small and medium-sized companies, which will have a greatly reduced turnover during this year, which need to be preserved as much as possible, because that is what makes a tourist destination successful”, he reiterated.

Pedro Siza Vieira considered it necessary to invest in future competitiveness factors, like sustainability, digitalisation and human resources qualification.

“We will continue to invest in what the new country destinations are, nature tourism (…), redesign buildings into parks, (…) to support the conversion of living units to a more circular economic system, greater energy efficiency”, guaranteed the minister.
The marked effects of the decrease in tourism can be seen in the latest statistics from INE in Portugal.

According to the National Statistics Institute (INE), overnight stays from residents decreased 85.9 percent (-93.5 percent in April) and those from non-residents decreased 98.4 percent (-98.9 percent in the previous month).

Total income recorded a negative change of 97.2 percent (-98.5 percent in April), standing at €11 million. Income from accommodation reached €9.6 million, decreasing 96.8 percent (-98.2 percent in the previous month).

Guests and overnight stays maintained historical declines in the period under review, with approximately 70.4 percent of tourist accommodation establishments closed or with no record of movement of guests (85 percent in April 2020).

The main markets maintained reductions of over 90 percent, with the largest declines occurring in the British, Irish (-99.4 percent in both), North American (-99.3 percent) and French (-99.0 percent).

Since the beginning of the year, all the main markets have decreased, with emphasis on the Irish (-79.0 percent), Belgian
(-71.3 percent), Swiss (-71.1 percent) and French (-70, 5 percent).

The Canadian (-47.2 percent) and Brazilian (-51.0 percent) markets were, among the main ones, those that registered smaller decreases.
Meanwhile, the Portuguese President has been working to help push tourism in the country to help to secure the industry.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has defended “positive discrimination” for the tourism sector, considering that the Algarve is one of the Portuguese regions where this particular discrimination is very important.

“Tourism in general; restaurants, hotels and sectors linked to tourism, deserve a positive discrimination and the Algarve is one of areas where this is very important”, said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

The President indicated that the Government “is seriously looking at the tourism situation” especially in terms of employment. Marcelo also added that the Government is being “very attentive to the Algarve’s situation”.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa hopes that on 20 July, when Ireland releases its list of countries at risk “it could translate into different news”. BS/KS/Lusa


Did our citizens who voted in this government have any idea what a bunch of inadequate buffoons they were electing? Did the people in the so called 'Red Wall' constituencies really believe that the Tories with an egotistical leader and a tribe of 'yes' disciples could to lead them to Nivana? Perhaps, after seven months of misrule, backtracking and sheer incompetence, not to mention their inability to handle the pandemic in an efficient manner, I hope that those same voters are having second thoughts. Perhaps in the scheme of things, the decision to omit Portugal from the list of destinations for permitted travel, in a small way illustrates the continued muddled thinking that must make us the laughing stock of Europe! But citizens do not despair, soon we will have shaken off the shackles of Europe and we can bask in the in the glow of a benevolent Mr. Trump.
After many years of living in the Algarve I returned to the UK, but little did I realise what fate awaited!

By Nigel Wolfenden from UK on 21-07-2020 04:45

How can we justify this decision Portugal is one of our oldest allies in Europe and need our support , the decision not to allow travel goes against all logical thinking, based on the evidence provided by Portugal the No` of cases is one of the lowest in Europe yet we are allowed to travel to Spain and Italy where the out break is far higher??? "Makes no sense - we will be ostracizing one of our close friends based on what ??? Hope they remember when we are looking for an Allie next time !! Here`s looking to visit your country as soon as possible :)

By Michael White from UK on 20-07-2020 12:22

The Ancient Alliance will withstand COVID-19 and lead to further greatness. Fear not, Anthony, amigo meu.

By Alan Silva from USA on 20-07-2020 03:21

Unfortunately I think that the UK Foreign Office has made a totally and damaging wrong decision about safeTy of travel toPortugal and Lisbon in particular. It is unlikely that any tourists would be visiting the areas of Lisbon with restrictions. I don’t believe that the UK Foreign Office has done proper research before reaching their conclusion. STUPID!

By Geoffrey W Ryder from UK on 19-07-2020 07:02

I flew in to Gatwick last night from Estoril now I have stay in my room at my sister's for 2 weeks.when I arrived there where people on the train to London not wearing masks as it was compulsory in Portugal, I live in Cascais and I am safer there than the UK, the British Goverment is a joke..and yes I am British.

By chandos south from Lisbon on 18-07-2020 02:52

Anthony - Portuguese PM Antonio Costa and the Finance Minister are Indian too, not sure why the U.K. Indians want to destroy the Portuguese Indians!!!

By Anna from Madeira on 18-07-2020 01:24

I continue to find myself having to say sorry to the Portuguese people for the actions of " The British Trump", and his incompetent government. There is no scientific advice behind "political" decisions that are being made, like most things with Boris it is a lie. The UK has the highest number of deaths by far, per million of population in Europe, to describe its "political" actions as arrogant is an understatement. Portugal our oldest friend, who sent soldiers to the trenches in World War One, and fought with Wellington. People of Portugal this is not the "people" of the UK, but Politicians who seek to divide, it is politicians who cause conflict and disharmony , do not let them win . Politicians are in power for a moment in time, (just passing through). It will change.

By ian dowdle from Alentejo on 18-07-2020 10:00

Your biggest lost is those Portuguese in Canada that cannot get to Lisbon due to the pandemic issue. Major lost of incoming revenue to the country. We are citizens not tourists.

By Anthony Horta from Lisbon on 17-07-2020 10:18

This present government will turn Uk into a Banana republic!
UK is already on a downward path,and it’s isolating itself from its friends and neighbours!

By Roy Wilson from Other on 17-07-2020 09:35

Where is my first message-have you censored it

By Anthony Foxwell from UK on 17-07-2020 04:46

I believe this Tory government and stupid Twitti Patel and Crap Shapps are helm bent on destroying the Portuguese Tourist industry because Portugal puts U K to shame in handling the Pandemic- and now Barcelona locks down another 2million people yet Foreign Office and Twitti still think it's ok to pack Btits off there for their holidays some of whose actions especially in Magalluf make me ashamed to be British!

By Anthony Foxwell from UK on 17-07-2020 04:30
Interactive Topics, send us your comments/opinion on this article.

Please note that The Portugal News may use selected comments in the printed edition of the newspaper.