Portugal has responded to the UK’s decision to not include it in an airbridge this summer, revealing it is “extremely disappointed”.
The country was excluded from the list of 59 countries published by the UK Government on Friday 3 July, which included countries and territories from Europe, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific.
Destinations mentioned on the list will form part of an ‘air bridge’ with the UK from 10 July, meaning British travellers will not have to quarantine on arrival or upon return to the UK.
However, despite speculation that Portugal was to be on the list, it was not included, though its neighbour Spain was.
Portugal’s territories of Madeira and the Azores have also been left off the FCO’s list of territories it is possible to travel to at this time.
In an official statement, president of Turismo de Portugal, Mr Luis Araújo, said: “We are extremely disappointed to hear that the UK government has made the decision to omit Portugal from the air bridge agreement.
“The reality in Portugal is totally different from the one portrayed by this decision. We fully maintain and stress unwavering confidence in the safety of the nation to welcome back international visitors.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Portuguese government and tourism industry have worked tirelessly to implement a carefully strategised and thoroughly actioned protocol for the tourism industry and wider society.
“From our viewpoint, the entire national territory should have been appropriately included in the UK travel corridor owing to the successful containment of the outbreak.”
The statement also details the efforts Portugal has gone into to control the coronavirus, revealing it has deaths down by 70 per cent and active cases at 13,060 for the entire nation.
Portugal is a favourite holiday destination with British tourists and is also a popular cruise destination.
Many cruise lines such as P&O Cruises and Celebrity Cruises stop at the mainland and its territories.
Araújo continued: “The British public, who have been our primary source of inbound visitors for many regions in Portugal, have celebrated our culture, traditions, landmarks, and history for decades, by our side.
“We will continue to implement strict safety protocol with the cross-sector cooperation of multiple establishments.
“We can only reiterate our full commitment to welcome all British tourists who choose to have their vacations in our country by providing them with safety, warmth, and the kindness of the people of Portugal.”