Holidays: Spain 'loves British people' says Foreign Minister
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May 17 heralds the resumption of international travel from the UK as part of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown. But holidaymakers who were keen to book their tickets to Portugal, one of the only European countries to make it onto the “green list”, face uncertainty over whether Portugal will reciprocate and let foreign travellers in from Monday.
Demand soared for holidays in Portugal when the list was announced by the Prime Minister last week.
Capacity has been increased by the likes of easyJet, Ryanair and Tui to the main Portuguese gateways of Lisbon, Faro, and Porto.
Tui has 44 flights due to depart for Portugal between May 17-30, including 28 to Faro in the Algarve.
EasyJet has also added 25,000 extra seats on flights to Portugal.
However, plans could be scuppered if the Portuguese Government does not choose to open its borders to non-essential international travel from Monday.
Portugal had originally planned to open its borders on Sunday, but plans could be scuppered by the coronavirus situation in the Mediterranean country.
The Portuguese government extended a ‘state of public calamity’ – the second highest Covid alert level – on the mainland for a further 15 days from Monday until May 30.
Portuguese MP Cristovao Norte has said a decision should be taken “immediately” over whether British tourists can travel to Portugal from 17 May.
Mr Norte, who is MP for the Algarve, told BBC Breakfast he did not know whether Britons will be allowed to visit the country from Monday.
He said: “We are today going to make an urgent inquiry asking the [Portuguese] government whether or not the English travel can come to Portugal next Monday because we are three days ahead from 17th and no one is sure what is going to happen.
“Our vaccination process is going steadily and it is important a decision is taken immediately.
“The message is clear: there are no reasons, nor political or scientific reasons, to maintain restrictions for travel from the UK to Portugal.”
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Are airlines still flying to Portugal?
Tui updated its website last night to say: “We’re aware of reports this evening regarding flights and holidays due to depart between 17th and 30th May 2021 to mainland Portugal.
“We’re monitoring the situation closely and will provide a further update as soon as we have clarification from the Portuguese government.
“All holidays to Madeira and Porto Santo will continue to operate as planned.
“All holidays to Portugal (Algarve) departing from 31st May will continue to operate as planned.
“We would like to reassure customers that we will contact them directly if their flight or holiday is impacted to discuss their options, this includes offering a full refund or the chance to change the holiday for free. We would like to thank them for their understanding.”
Ryanair and easyJet also still selling flights to various destinations in mainland Portugal.
Madeira and the neighbouring island of Porto Santo, as well as the Azores, are not included in the ‘state of calamity’, so holidays should restart there as normal from Monday.
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