British tourists rush to leave Algarve over risk of UK quarantine U-turn
“The news of a possible closure of the air corridor is already causing a great deal of concern, particularly among customers who are currently in the Algarve, with some asking to hasten their return to England,” the Portuguese Hospitality Association (AHT) spokesman João Soares told press today.
img decoding=”async” src=”http://algarvedailynews.com/images/news2/110tourist-rush.jpg” alt=”110tourist rush” width=”160″ height=”107″ style=”margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 5px; float: left;” />“The news of a possible closure of the air corridor is already causing a great deal of concern, particularly among customers who are currently in the Algarve, with some asking to hasten their return to England,” the Portuguese Hospitality Association (AHT) spokesman João Soares told press today.
The Algarve regional head of the association, which represents more than 60% of the national hoteliers, said that, in addition to the spurt of departures, there has also been an influx of cancellations of reservations at the beginning of this week: “At the moment, these cancellations have already reached a considerable number.”
Soares stated that hoteliers are looking at the situation with great concern, as the UK government’s possible decision to restore the mandatory quarantine on arrival home in British territory, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, “does not make much sense, since the Algarve fulfils all necessary criteria and is the region least affected by new infections”.
The regional head argues that “the Algarve should be treated differently, the region should not be penalized by the contagion ratio existing in other areas of the country”, referring to the much higher rates of infection found in Central and Northern Portugal in comparison to the Algarve and Alentejo.
“We depend to a great extent on the British market, which has a substantial impact in the month of September”, underlined Soares.
The director of a local hotel in Quarteira reinforced the concern of AHP members, saying that “the decision would be an imminent step back in what has been achieved in a region that complies with what is required in terms of the number of Covid-19 cases”.
For his part, the president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA) claims that “for the time being, there is still no record” of British tourists returning to UK due to the media’s speculation that a possible decision by the UK government to reinstate the quarantine requirement upon arrival in British territory may be announced on Thursday of this week. However, this claim goes against what is being reported by British press, who are reporting a large number of British citizens returning home from Portugal since the beginning of this week.
“What can be said is that this is not good news and, if it happens, it will bring huge losses to the region and to the country”, said the president of AHETA, Elidérico Viegas, stressing that the “British market is strategic and a priority for the region, it represents more than a third of overnight stays and tourists and, in revenue, it represents more because the per capita expenditure is higher than the average of visitors from other countries”
“Penalizing regions like the Algarve because the areas of Lisbon and Porto have a higher number of infected people seems to me a little – not a little, it is a lot – unfair. And not just for us, but for British tourists themselves”, concluded the representative.