British holidaymakers’ travel plans in doubt as Portugal extends lockdown

Marcos Alonso of Chelsea

Marcos Alonso of Chelsea

Other popular European holiday spots for Britons like Spain and Cyprus are on the "amber list", meaning travellers would need to quarantine for 10 days upon return and take two tests. With Portugal one of only a few "green list" countries feasible to travel to, home-weary Brits have been keen to get away in the coming weeks.

"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".

Portugal has yet to decide whether it will allow visits from United Kingdom holidaymakers as it extends its "state of calamity" until 30 May.

Under current plans, people from England and Scotland will be allowed to travel to Portugal for non-essential reasons from Monday.

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Until this morning, Portugal still hadn't rescinded its ban on visitors from foreign countries.

Portugal will allow tourists from Britain to enter from May 17, following Britain's go-ahead last week for its holidaymakers to travel to Portugal from that date, the Lusa news agency reported on Friday.

Those travel restrictions will be lifted only from 17 May.

"With an air capacity from (at least) 21 airports in the United Kingdom into Portugal, reinforced due to the high demand from this market, the options are wide for the British tourists to visit Portugal from any point", the ministry said.

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João Fernandes, president of Algarve Tourism, added: "We look forward to welcoming British visitors again". Very good news out of #Portugal and huge sighs of relief from those travelling from the 17th May.

Portugal is on the UK's "green" list for unrestricted travel from then, but it was unclear until now whether the Portuguese would reciprocate.

Alan French, chief executive of OTA Thomas Cook, said: "It's great to get confirmation that Portugal is set to welcome British holidaymakers next week once global travel resumes from the UK". It does not mean those countries are open for visitors; indeed, only Portugal, Gibraltar, Israel and Iceland are easily visited at the present time.

Now non-residents of Portugal can only enter if their travel is essential, a COVID test is required within 72 hours of departure, and even those with a negative result can still be refused permission to board a flight or be made to quarantine in government-approved accommodation on arrival.

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But travelling to numerous destinations on that list won't be quite so easy, with entry to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, and the Faroe Islands severely restricted. Rather, they are requested to undertake a rapid (lateral flow) test before boarding the plane, and a PCR test within 48 hours of touching down in the UK.

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