Lisbon, Jun 7 (EFE).- Tens of thousands of British tourists have flocked to Portugal’s airports to return home before quarantine rules are re-imposed in the United Kingdom after the government removed the popular tourist destination from its safe travel list.
The restrictions announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government last week are due to come into force in the early hours of Tuesday.
Crowds of British holidaymakers turned up at the airport in Faro, a popular resort in Portugal’s Algarve, on Monday morning to make it home before the obligatory 10-day quarantine is reintroduced.
UK authorities on Friday moved Portugal from its so-called green list of destinations to the amber list, where it joins countries like Spain, France and Greece.
Several airlines have put on additional flights from Portuguese destinations, often at an inflated price, to keep up with the demand.
Over 25,000 British tourists left the Algarve over the weekend, and thousands more are expected to make the trip on one of the 40 flights scheduled between Faro and the UK on Monday, more than double the usual number of departures.
Another consequence of the sudden change in protocol has been a huge spike in demand for Covid-19 tests in the region, which is putting strain on clinics and the test center at the airport.
The UK government’s decision to remove Portugal from its travel corridor came as a blow for Portugal’s struggling tourism sector, especially the Algarve, which is heavily reliant on British visitors.
The cost of flights between the Algarve and the UK has skyrocketed ahead of an inevitable collapse from Wednesday on.
Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, on Sunday criticized the development, describing the UK system of reviewing travel destinations every three weeks as “unstable.”