UK holidaymakers rejoice – Portugal has finally been put on the ‘safe travel list’ – meaning Brits can finally take a holiday in the popular Mediterranean country. The list of popular holiday destinations Brits can currently visit is dwindling following the removal of France, Spain and Croatia, so the addition of Portugal has been welcomed in both countries.
Changes to the safe travel list will come into place on Saturday, August 22, meaning UK travellers will not have to quarantine upon return from the country.
Announcing the change, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Twitter: “Data also shows we can now add Portugal to those countries INCLUDED in Travel Corridors.
“As with all air bridge countries, please be aware that things can change quickly.”
Portugal’s number of cases per 100,000 on a seven-day average is now 14.9 – lower than the threshold of 20 set by the Government, meaning it is now safe to be removed from the list .
For many, a holiday to Portugal offers the last chance of a summer break before schools return at the beginning of September.
Portugal attracts around 2.1million British visitors every year, making it one of the most popular destinations in Britain.
However, the addition of Portugal comes with the removal of several other countries.
Croatia, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago have been removed from the air corridor list, meaning people arriving in the UK after 4am on Saturday will have to quarantine.
France and Spain have proved to be the biggest blows the UK holidaymakers, with thousands devastated when the announcements were made with thousands of Brits abroad.
Are flights to Portugal running?
Flights to Portugal are running with many of the main carriers, however prices have unsurprisingly spiked following the Government’s announcement.
Aviation data analysts Cirium reported that there were 719 flights between the UK and Portugal before pupils return to school next month, with a total seat capacity of nearly 128,000.
Ryanair, Easyjet British Airways and WizzAir are all running flights to various destinations across Portugal.
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Jet2 and Tui have also announced they will resume flights to Portugal from the end of the month.
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said: “Customers are responding to the welcome change in government advice by booking their much-needed holidays in the Portuguese sunshine, and we are responding to that by adding more flights and seats.
“We want our customers to enjoy their well-deserved holidays, and our decision to act quickly and add even more capacity to Faro ensures they will have plenty of choice.
“With flights and holidays operating to Faro, in addition to Madeira, we are thrilled to be offering customers two fantastic options in Portugal when they’re looking to book their well-deserved holiday away from the gloom.”
According to Visit Portugal, the two metre rule is still in place and face masks are mandatory on public transport and services, shops and supermarkets, in closed spaces or in places with many people.
In Madeira, the use of a mask is mandatory in all public places, closed or open.
If you fly from the mainland to Madeira, you must be able to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test before flying.
Mr Luis Araújo, President of Turismo de Portugal said: “We are delighted to have the UK government confirmation for Portugal’s inclusion in an air bridge arrangement to prevent mandatory quarantine upon return to the United Kingdom.
“For quite some time now tourism and government officials have consistently maintained our unwavering confidence in the safety of Portugal as a result of a thoroughly efficient and effective multi-sector strategy to contain the virus as early as possible and the implementation of concise measures and infrastructure with the capacity to prepare the tourism sector for a safe reopening.
“We are now delighted to have arrived at a decision which we feel far better reflects the reality of the situation in Portugal.
“Since May, Portugal has been considered an example in leading the fight against COVID-19, namely as a result of the extensive testing, which ranks in the top 10 highest European nations to test over one million people, with more than 1.8 million tests completed and rising.
“From then until now, all indicators have evolved favourably, with the number of active cases decreasing on linearly. “
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