British tourists could be turned away at Portuguese airports due to EU travel ban
Portugal has warned it may be forced to refuse entry to tourists even though they are on the UK’s green lists, because of a continuing EU ban on non-essential travel from countries outside the bloc. Portugal is on the UK government's so-called 'green list', which allows travel to certain nations with the need for Covid-19 testing but not quarantine, from Monday.
While the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice has been updated to allow non-essential travel to the country, Portugal faces a trickier decision, because while its government wants to take UK tourists, it is currently prevented from doing so because of the EU rule.
The country is in a difficult position as it holds the rotating presidency of the EU, making it hard to simply ignore the policy, and officials in Lisbon have expressed fears they'll be faced with thousands of arrivals on Monday who they're technically not allowed to let in, saying that thousands of British visitors would have to be "turned away" at the airport unless the rule was relaxed in time.
Portuguese hotels have reported a huge surge in bookings since the UK Government confirmed the end of the travel ban, and Grant Shapps announced the green list countries, saying that the last few days have been “absolute madness in terms of reservations,” and the country's largest chain, Pestana, said demand has jumped by an astonishing 250% since Friday.
But most other EU states aren't expecting a rush of Brits until later in the summer, when the digital green pass is operational, and even when the continent-wide ban is lifted, individual states will each set the terms under which visitors can arrive. Greece is keen to welcome back Brits as soon as possible, but France has said they won't accept tourists until next month, whereas Spain hopes that an agreement between the EU and UK will be in place by next Thursday, May 20th.