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Portugal faces surge in golf holiday bookings after being named on UK’s travel ‘green list’

12.26pm 10th May 2021 - Travel - This story was updated on Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

Portugal looks set to benefit from being named as one the only 12 countries to have been included on the the UK Government’s ’green list’ of destinations that will not require quarantine on return to England after May 17.

Mainland Portugal’s inclusion – along with the islands of the Azores and Madeira – looks set to begin a stampede of bookings for Portugal’s two main golfing regions, the Algarve and the area around Lisbon.

In the wake of the eagerly anticipated news, airlines are increasing flight capacity to Faro, many at hugely discounted prices, while the travel industry reported a surge in bookings over the weekend, as long-overdue plans were finally put into action.

A spokesperson for Algarve Tourism said: “It has been a difficult period for everyone and we cannot wait to welcome our UK friends once again with open arms. There has been a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes while we have been waiting for the announcement for people to travel again. We are safe and ready to offer the very best experience on our fantastic golf courses.”

The ‘green light’ destinations were revealed in a press conference hosted by transport secretary Grant Shapps on May 7, who also revealed that other key European golfing destinations such as France and Spain would not be on the green list when international travel resumes from 17 May, and may not be on the next review which is due to take place in three weeks’ time.

Meanwhile Turkey, one of most popular mid-haul golf holiday destinations, has been placed on the red list by the UK government from May 12.

Countries are categorised based on their Covid-19 risk, including levels of Covid infections, the successful rollouts of vaccination programmes and whether there are any new coronavirus variants in circulation in the destination. The list will be reviewed every three weeks by the Department for Transport.

The measures only govern the rules for returning to the UK; individual countries may have their own additional Covid border controls, testing requirements and other measures that travellers will need to comply with to enter these destinations.

“Today marks the first step in our cautious return to international travel, with measures designed above all else to protect public health and ensure we don’t throw away the hard-fought gains we’ve all strived to earn this year,” said transport secretary Grant Shapps. “This is a new way of doing things, and people should expect travel to be different this summer – with longer checks at the borders, as part of tough measures to prevent new strains of the virus entering the country and putting our fantastic vaccine rollout at risk.”

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