14.15.2021 13:56 UPDATE: See news on travel update here: https://www.theportugalnews.com/news/2021-05-14/non-essential-travel-to-the-uk-allowed-from-monday/59889
The announcement was made by the British government on 7 May and was heralded as “good news” by the Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, who added that the end of restrictions imposed by England on trips to Portugal constitutes “recognition of the effort made by Portuguese”.
It is “undoubtedly” good news, he said, as it means “recognition of the effort made by the Portuguese” which has “resulted in having a controlled pandemic situation today”, as he reacted to the news that as of 17 in May, Portugal will appear on the “green list” of countries considered safe to travel and exempt from quarantine on arrival in England. The green list is expected to be updated every three weeks by the UK government according to infection rates and vaccination programmes I specific countries.
Santos Silva also spoke of the digital vaccination certificates, which he expects “to be operational by the beginning of the summer”, and to the revision of the recommendation on travel outside the European Union (EU), which includes the United Kingdom, which will be done “in order to allow travel of all kinds - essential or non-essential - to countries whose pandemic situation is also better”.
“This is the case in the United Kingdom, which is currently in a very controlled pandemic situation, with a very advanced vaccination programme and with very low levels of new cases, in fact, close to the Portuguese,” he said.
That reassessment will be made at a forthcoming EU Council of Ministers, to take place in May, in which “sensible, cautious, prudent, but progressive opening decisions” will be taken, he added.
Regarding air corridors, Santos Silva stressed that, “at the moment, the biggest restrictions are for all countries inside or outside the EU that have a high number of new cases, 500 per 100,000”, which has been the threshold used “in European coordination”.
Meanwhile, Turismo de Portugal has also welcomed the UK’s decision to include the country on the “green list”.
“In this initial phase of the resumption of tourist activity at an international level, it is good news for national tourism, as it demonstrates confidence in the destination of Portugal,” Turismo de Portugal said in a statement.
The organisation highlighted that Portugal is one of the countries in Europe with the lowest incidence of covid-19, “having registered a favourable evolution in all indicators of pandemic control”.
For the president of Turismo de Portugal, Luís Araújo, “this is an important step in the recovery” of tourism and the national economy.
“Restoring mobility between countries is essential for us to be able to look to the future in a positive way, knowing that we are stronger and focused on our purpose of receiving tourists safely”, added the official.
The Secretary of State for Tourism, Rita Marques, added that “this day marks the beginning of the reactivation of tourism, in the international context”.
“Portugal and the United Kingdom have always been partner countries, also in tourism, so it is with special satisfaction that we see the inclusion of Portugal as the first EU country in the UK’s green list. We will be ready to receive British tourists”, said the minister.
The United Kingdom is one of the main tourism markets for Portugal, with a 19 percent share in overnight stays from non-residents and generating more than 3.3 billion in revenue in years prior to the pandemic.
At the time of going to press, travel to Portugal was still subject to entry restrictions and only allowed if you are a returning resident, all other travel entry was still limited to essential purposes only with other restrictions in place.
The Portuguese government is expected to announce changes to travel restrictions imminently as the current State of calamity is in effect until 16 May.
Full details of travel restriction rules for Portugal can be found at https://www.visitportugal.com/en/content/covid-19-measures-implemented-portugal and are updated according to the latest news.