Golf breaks to Portugal are back on the cards again after the UK government lifted travel restrictions on UK holidaymakers travelling to the country.
Government transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the decision shortly after 5pm on August 20, with the Foreign Office also exempting Portugal from its global advisory against all but essential travel.
Turismo de Portugal president Luis Araujo said while the country “could not wait to welcome” visitors from the UK again, the UK’s decision to exclude Portugal from its safe travel list would linger long in the memory.
“While this has been a period nobody will ever forget, a period which has left behind a trail of destruction, sorrow, and pain, we are so thankful to be able to open our arms, even wider than before, to the people of the United Kingdom,” said Araujo. “We are now delighted to have arrived at a decision which we feel far better reflects the reality of the situation in Portugal,” said Araujo.
Turismo de Portugal said that since May, Portugal had led the way in its efforts to negate the risks posed by Covid-19. Efforts have included extensive testing, with Portugal ranking among the top 10 countries in Europe for testing with more than 1.8 million tests completed to date. The country’s Clean & Safe seal, which examines safety throughout the entire tourism value chain, now has more than 21,000 businesses registered, while more than 22,000 tourism workers have completed the scheme’s training.
“Portugal has been welcoming guests from the UK since the beginning of July,” said Araujo. “Therefore, this is not the case of a country just opening its doors after battling the worst of the pandemic, but the case of a destination which has been operating with the capacity for international visitors for some time now following effective early action in the battle against the virus. We have tourists in Portugal already who are enjoying themselves safely and responsibly. Portugal has open borders, open tourism activities, and is ready to welcome tourists in all regions, now without the need for a mandatory quarantine upon return to the UK.”
Players heading to the Algarve over the coming months are guaranteed a warm welcome and outstanding golf on courses in optimum condition at what is one of the best times of year to play.
A spokesperson for Algarve Tourism said: “Everyone has worked extremely hard to make Portugal and the Algarve one of the safest places to visit in Europe, and we’re thrilled to be able to welcome UK golfers back after so many months away. While some things in the world may have changed after the Covid-19 lockdown, we can reassure golfers that our courses remain as good as ever and our message is clear – put months of lockdown and quarantine behind you and enjoy some of Europe’s top-ranked courses in a part of the world that is a golfing paradise.”
Portugal’s air routes will be operating at around 60% of typical capacity in September. “At this moment, Portugal already has global air connectivity to more than 81 cities, with 29 airlines assuring international flights to Portugal’s five airports,” added Araujo.