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Portugal is Now Accepting Tourists from Other Countries

Portugal is Now Accepting Tourists from the U.S., Canada & European Countries

One of the many things that the global pandemic has taught us is how mutually dependent our economies are on tourism. Tourism accounts for 10% of Portugal’s GDP and in key tourist areas as much as 60% of the local economy has disappeared, sending youth unemployment to over 20%. Portugal attracts over 23 million visitors a year, and it is keen to get them back again. As of June 2020, Portugal has reopened its doors for tourism from selected countries. Unlike some other countries now accepting tourists, mainland Portugal does not require a confinement or isolation period for new arrivals.

How much appetite is there for foreign travel?

After two months of lockdown, there’s an awful lot of people out there for whom the turquoise waters and golden sands of the Algarve look even more appealing than ever. A lot of us feel like we need a good holiday. We need not only a complete change of scene but also a much-needed sense of normality. The problem is that while Covid-19 is still very much around, and the prospect of second and third waves an ever-present threat, how many of us are going to want to book a flight? Social distancing in airports is very problematic, if not downright impossible. Despite the assertions of airlines that plane travel is safe, the prospect of breathing recycled air for several hours is unappealing. We are all desperately keen for things to get back to normal, but we are also afraid of contacting our fellow human beings.

Portugal beaches
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

How safe is Portugal as a destination?

In its favor is the impressive way in which Portugal has coped with the Covid-19 crisis. Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva is confident that the country can resume tourism safely: ‘Portugal’s health system responds well, and this is very important for us to be able to welcome people.’ Temperature checks are already being carried out on new arrivals at Portugal’s airports. There is a recognition that the experience of an Algarve holiday will be different from the way it was in the past. Beaches will operate a one-way system, there will be a limit on numbers, and social distancing measures will be in place in bars and restaurants. The minister has acknowledged that nightlife, such a quintessential element of the holiday ‘good time’, will need to be constrained and that large groups of people would not be able to congregate at night. 

Is this a good time to visit Portugal?

The number of tourists visiting Portugal will inevitably be much reduced, and for those who do go, this can only be good news. More space in the car parks, more space on the beaches, more competitive prices. For example, prisons for self-catering accommodation have already gone down, making holiday accommodation in Portugal a real bargain. Nothing is as it was, and that goes for your holiday in Portugal, but on the upside, you may get to see the attractions of this richly diverse country in a way that has not been possible for years.

Featured Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay