Portugal says it will welcome Britons from Monday

Visitors must present a negative Covid PCR test taken within 72 hours of the departure of the flight

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Saturday 15 May 2021 03:10
Travel correspondent clarifies rules as Portugal gets ready to welcome Britons

The Portuguese foreign ministry has confirmed that British tourists will be allowed to enter Portugal from Monday 17 May.

Visit Portugal said this decision will revoke the “essential travel” restrictions in place until 16 May.

The statement read: “The options are wide for the British Tourists to visit Portugal, from any point. People from the United Kingdom have visited Portugal and celebrated our culture, traditions, landmarks, history, and enjoyed our warm hospitality for decades.

“We look forward to welcome all travellers coming from the UK.”

Visitors must present a negative Covid PCR test taken within 72 hours of the departure of the flight.

The news comes as a huge relief to thousands of prospective holidaymakers, after reports emerged that British tourists might not be allowed in until the end of May.

But it will add pressure to the many people booked to fly on Monday morning to Lisbon, Faro and Porto, since they will have to organise a PCR test over the weekend.

Portugal is the only major southern European nation on the UK government’s “green list” of quarantine-free countries.

After that announcement, all the big travel providers – British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair and Tui – added extra capacity to Portugal.

The confirmation followed overnight concerns that the Portuguese government might continue the ban on non-EU holidaymakers. In Lisbon, the “state of calamity” was extended to 30 May, and the expected statement about UK tourism did not materialise.

Britain's biggest budget airline, easyJet, welcomed the news. A spokesperson said: “We look forward to reuniting friends and family and taking customers on a long awaited holiday this summer.”

But Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive at Advantage Travel Partnership, said the uncertainty caused anguish for holidaymakers and the travel industry.

“This goes to show that the discussions and decisions on whether countries will allow visitors in, despite them being on the UK’s ‘green list’ are incredibly complex.” she said.

“The speculation around these decisions creates a lot of anxiety and distress for both consumers and our travel agent members.

“We remain positive that this is the first step to safely reopening travel and hopefully more destinations will be classified as green so that the industry can make the most of the forthcoming summer season.”

Paul Charles, chief executive of the travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “It’s green for go from Monday.

“Overseas travel will restart as scheduled in the prime minister’s roadmap. Well done to Portugal for making it happen.

“Travel can be done safely and responsibly. We now need to see a wider green list from the start of June.”

The other green list countries include Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and other destination that are inaccessible and/or do not allow British visitors.

The only other European locations are Gibraltar and Iceland.

Travel correspondent Simon Calder gives his thoughts on the latest news from the travel industry and what it means for you in a new daily podcast. Find out more here.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments