Uncertain future for travel

in News · 03-07-2020 01:00:00 · 17 Comments

As Portugal awaits news about whether or not the country will be given an air bridge between the country and the UK, a new online petition has been launched to lobby the UK government into action.

At the time of going to press there had yet to be a decision on whether the UK government would open an air bridge between the country and Portugal, which would allow visitors to not have to quarantine in the UK for 14 days once they arrive back from a trip to Portugal.

The online petition, which can be found at www.change.org/PortugalAirBridge, had already at the time of going to press, received more than 5,000 signatures and calls for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “Get your finger out” and “Give a nation that has done very well in fighting this virus a summer season from the start of July”.

The petition was set up by Charles Barrett who has been a regular visitor to Portugal for the last six years with his wife and twin 12 year old girls.

Charles Barrett, who lives in Dunlop in Scotland, told The Portugal News: “My belief in life has always been for fairness, honesty and transparency. I have been following the dealing with Covid-19 here and elsewhere as that is most of the news nowadays. As such when I read that Portugal may be classified as red in the new UK traffic light system I was baffled given the facts I had read on and how each EU country including the UK has been dealing with this virus.

He continued: “My motivation was therefore to fight for my beliefs and for Portugal. Given that I do not have direct access to influencers on this matter I could only influence hopefully with people (as people matter in this world) through Change.Org. I also believe that we have to support each other as people at this time anyway we can no matter which country you are from or reside.

Portugal and its people need tourists to live and survive through this pandemic and indeed tourists need Portugal for its safeness, beautiful resorts, friendly people and a cheap holiday to recover and relax after being in lockdown for so long. As such the introduction of an Air Bridge between the countries helps both Portugal and UK residents in my world”.

Meanwhile the Minister of Economy has said that “there should be no sense of discrimination” regarding Portugal in the resumption of flights from the United Kingdom based on the increase in cases of Covid-19 in the Lisbon region.

“We continue to discuss with the British authorities in order to explain that Portugal, as a whole and in parts of the country, such as in the Algarve and the north of the country, are safe destinations and therefore it does not make sense to have discrimination in these terms”, said Pedro Siza Vieira, Minister of State, Economy and Digital Transition.

“Portugal continues to have a mortality rate much lower than that of the United Kingdom, we continue to have a great response from our health services and we started to act to lessen the effects of Covid-19 before the United Kingdom and other countries”, defended the government official.

For Pedro Siza Vieira, the UK government cannot just look at the daily increase in cases of contagion, “which is the criterion that many European countries have conveniently chosen to adopt”, but other indicators should also be considered, such as the level of contagion in the population, the level of deaths, the level of hospitalisations and the response capacity of health services.

“In this respect, Portugal compares very well and, especially in regions such as the Algarve and the north, it makes no sense to be discriminated against in relation to other destinations within Europe, which have higher levels of incidence”, he underlined.
The Minister of Economy also mentioned that, “fortunately” there are other important markets for Portugal, namely the German one, with “another type of approach to this problem”.

Meanwhile, the Spanish- Portuguese border has been reopened with officials marking the event with a ceremony at the Guadiana Bridge following the three and a half month closure.

The border between Portugal and Spain was closed at 11pm on March 16 (midnight on 17 March in Spain), and reopened on 30 July at 11pm, (midnight in Spain). Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, King of Spain Felipe VI, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa and the head of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez were all in attendance along with other dignitaries.

António Pina, the president of the Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL) explained that the initiative was a “moment that needed to be marked” because “for more than 30 years” both sides of the border have “got used to living in a calm way and often it was not even noticed that there was a border between the two countries”.

He added that the “Algarve, Andalusia and the province of Huelva [Spain] need open borders to live and develop together”.

“We hope that this process will be a success and that our countries and regions will continue to follow the path of pandemic control, because the economy needs this and people also need this for the economy,” he concluded.

The president of the Algarve Tourism Region, João Fernandes, also stressed the importance of the opening, stressing that the Spanish market is “responsible for more than one million overnight stays” in the Portuguese region and that the opening of the border benefits the economy of the two regions through tourism.


All I read about is how much money is being lost never mind the virus what and when are things to be safe
May be the experts know???
I am in Portugal just now even flew with Ryan Air and have stayed within the rules all ok

By Richard from Algarve on 13-07-2020 06:53

I have a holiday booked in August I see the border between Spain
And Portugal and we( GB) have had the same problems so what is
Your problems of saying we would have to quarantine when returning home . What is the other point is saying is that our insurance would be invalid but you allow Germany and others to have free access could you give everyone an ANSWER. This subject is very important to thousands of people .

By Richard Gardner from UK on 11-07-2020 12:17

My wife and I were due to fly out to the Algarve for 2 weeks on 20/7/20. We have cancelled our trip in light of the current quarantine/ no insurance situation .
Why doesn’t the Portuguese government cover our insurance in case we are taken sick ( in particular )?
For a small cost to them , maybe more UK tourists would then visit .

By Ray Deakin from UK on 07-07-2020 02:40

With what is happening in the US right now, I'm not sure if the advice they give is expert or not???

By William from Other on 06-07-2020 07:52

I am Portuguese and I am being separated from my family and friends for nearly a year I am getting anxious as I am working in hospital. Need to breath pure air and renew my energetic mind. I will go to Portugal with or without air bridge because holidays in here makes you depressed and is expensive can't afford. I will be quiet happy to do my quarantine if necessary.

By Estrela from UK on 04-07-2020 09:03

I cannot believe how irresponsible and selfish some of these people are! And I thought Americans were bad! What is this shit about "Oh, I can't have my holiday and boohoo I can't go to a warmer climate and visit my other home". WTF! It's a global pandemic you idiots! Let's take care of it so we can ALL travel again.

By Lisa Rhodes from USA on 04-07-2020 07:57

Brexit has nothing to do with it! You can travel all you want to Portugal and back...vacation, take care of your property, visit family and friends....It's whether you would be inconvenienced by being asked to quarantine when returning to England. Don't know how they plan on enforcing that....

By William from Other on 04-07-2020 12:17

We love Portugal and visit at least twice a year. We have flights booked for late July and have every intention of travelling despite another ludicrous decision by the UK government in leaving this wonderful country off the list! I fail to see how the UK who have managed the pandemic so poorly can stand in judgement over Portugal who have managed it so well!!

By Carla from UK on 03-07-2020 08:44

We have been going to Portugal for 13yrs it would have been 14years in march there but was cancelled due to the virus. Some times we have been twice in the year.we are booked to come over in October so hopefully we get the air bridge pass we are also booked for march next year so fingers crossed we get the go a head for the air bridge.

By Jemima Frame from UK on 03-07-2020 06:49

The UK is still living in the past.
They Do Not rule over a large part of the world as they used to.
Time moves on, and they should move on with the times.
The experts (ex is the unknown and a spert is a drip under pressure) are totally engrossed in their own glory.
We have lived in Portugal for some 15 years now and never had any health problems here in the Algarve, including with Covid 19.
The only problem with the UK is that they think/know that UK currency would be leaving the UK instead of going into their coffers.
I wonder how many of them are Masons?????

By Albert Fannin from Algarve on 03-07-2020 05:12

Please respect the right of the British people for self governing if you really love your freedom. The people voted for Brexit and as such punishment is not the answer. Just look at Italy and France to mention just a few rising discontent with the EU! Wake up! Globalism brings brings failures in many other aspects of self governing just look at the world today. Need I say more?

By John Eugenio from Lisbon on 03-07-2020 04:28

That's what happened to a country - Portugal -when the "responsible authorities" put all your eggs in the same basket! Now, too late, you are dealing with an uncertain pandemic far from being under control and crouds of easy-going undisciplined people who don't care less about anything except themselves?

By Tony Fernandes from Other on 03-07-2020 04:19

I need to go to Portugal to see someone very close to me. I am getting separation anxiety

By Mark Davies from UK on 03-07-2020 03:49

Many of us are flabbergasted at the apparent attitude of the UK Government. We visit our home in Portugal at five or six times a year and not only are we missing our holidays but also the practicalities of property ownership that need dealing with. Regardless of this, and provided Ryanair continue to fly, we'll be in the Algarve in August and fully intend to ignore any quarantine on our return. Living just 40 miles from Leicester, we will I am sure feel safer during the few weeks we will be in Portugal than we currently do in the UK.

By Steve Ward from UK on 03-07-2020 11:44

Algarve much safer than England.

By Marion Morgan from UK on 03-07-2020 10:22

Are you sure the border with Spain will open on 30 July at 11pm? check your typo!!

By GARY EDWARDS from UK on 03-07-2020 09:35

Wake up Portugal! The UK is now outside the EU and that will make thing smore difficult in the future. Better focus on guests from other EU countries. At the moment they might feel ignored and that pay back.

By John Dough from Lisbon on 03-07-2020 09:02
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