Portugal is preparing to reopen to vaccinated travelers from the U.S., according to a statement made Tuesday by Economy Minister, Pedro Siza Vieira, during a local Rádio Renascença broadcast.
“We are in a position to approve the opening of non-essential travel and flights to people from the U.S. to Portugal, as long as they have a vaccination certificate,” Siza Vieira said. American tourists would need to have received the final dose of one of the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) approved vaccines at least 14 days prior to travel, he noted. Fortunately, all three of the COVID-19 vaccines being used in the U.S.—Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson—have also been authorized by the EMA.
While Siza Vieira did not provide an exact date as to when Portugal might begin welcoming vaccinated U.S. tourists, he did remark during a trip to the Algarve region, “I believe that next week we will be able to have this up and running,” Reuters reported.
The move would make Portugal the latest member of a growing group of European nations—including Croatia, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Norway—that have reopened their borders to fully vaccinated American leisure travelers.
Siza Vieira’s comments come on the heels of Britain’s announcement last week that it would reinstate quarantine restrictions for travelers returning from Portugal, which is sure to be a major blow to the Iberian nation’s already devastated tourism sector, given that the U.K. is traditionally one of Portugal’s biggest foreign tourism markets.
Without the usual swell of visitors from the U.K., businesses in popular regions like the Algarve—a warm-weather haven famous for its beautiful beaches and splendid golf courses—will struggle to stay afloat.
Portugal’s tourism sector accounted for nearly 15 percent of its GDP prior to the onslaught of COVID-19, but its 2019 record foreign arrival numbers fell by 76 percent last year amid the pandemic. In 2019, 1.2 million U.S. tourists visited Portugal, whereas it saw only 135,229 American visitors in 2020 thanks to border closures and the suspension of air travel.
With a good portion of American travelers eager to visit Europe this year and much of the E.U. still deliberating about allowing U.S. travelers, Portugal is probably hoping to recapture some of the foreign tourism revenue it might otherwise have seen from the U.K.
Originally Appeared On: https://www.travelpulse.com/news/destinations/portugal-soon-to-reopen-to-vaccinated-us-tourists.html