Today’s the day: British holidaymakers return to Portugal as travel ban ends

A Ryanair plane takes off from Manchester Airport

A four-month long ban on travel between Britain and Portugal ended on Monday, allowing visitors to soak up the sun on Portuguese beaches once again in a much-needed boost for the struggling tourism sector.

About 20 flights from Britain are due to land in Portugal on Monday, with most heading to the southern Algarve region, famous for its beaches and golf courses but nearly deserted as the pandemic kept visitors away.

“I think it’s really good, we need the tourists here,” Ed, a British engineer who has been living in Algarve for nine months, said on Sunday as hotels and restaurants prepared for the tourists to arrive.

Visitors from Britain must present evidence of a negative coronavirus test taken 72 hours before boarding their flights to Portugal and there is no need to quarantine for COVID-19 when returning home.

Data from flight website Skyscanner showed a 616% week-on-week rise in bookings to Portugal in the week of Britain’s green list announcement.

Back at home, most British people will be free once again to hug, albeit cautiously, drink a pint in their pub, sit down to an indoor meal or visit the cinema after the ending of a series of lockdowns that imposed the strictest restrictions in peacetime history.

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