Portugals Tourism Sector Fumes at Exclusion From UK Safe Travel List

LISBON—Portugals tourism sector reacted with fury and disbelief at Britains decision to maintain a quarantine regime for travellers coming from Portugal despite having a higher number of coronavirus cases and deaths.

Portugal was left off a list of more than 50 countries that Britain considers safe enough for travel without coronavirus-related restrictions, meaning holidaymakers returning from Portugal would have to quarantine for 14 days.

That will be a major deterrent for British tourists, who accounted for 2.1 million of Portugals foreign visitors last year, the second-biggest market after Spain.

“Restaurants have adapted, all areas are sanitized, masks are mandatory, hospitals are prepared, doctors were trained. The region has adapted,” said Antonio Pina, a mayor from the tourism-dependent southern Algarve.

Over a dozen countries have imposed restrictions on travel from Portugal as a doggedly high toll of several hundred new cases per day concentrated on the outskirts of Lisbon in the past month has worried authorities.

“The outbreak is in peripheral Lisbon where there are no hotels, no tourist restaurants,” noted Raul Martins, head of Portugals Hotel Association.

“It has been poorly explained to the British.”

Portugals number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants is currently the second highest in Europe after Sweden, according to data from the European Unions disease control centre.

Portugal attributes this to its high testing rate, though Britain has surpassed Portugal in terms of tests per million people, according to the worldometer.info website.

“We were penalized for speaking the truth at a time when it is important to be transparent,” said Joao Fernandes, head of the Algarves tourism authority.

In a tweet, the foreign ministry said “it is absurd that a country, the Read More – Source