CEAL, the Algarve Entrepreneur Confederation has said today that the UK's decision to leave Portugal off the list of safe countries to travel to is an "atomic bomb for the entire economy" of the region.
In a statement, CEAL expresses its "surprise at the inability demonstrated by the Portuguese authorities" in this process. “The varied economic sectors of the Algarve, already shaken by the losses due to Covid-19, are now suffering a death blow with the announced exclusion of English air corridors”, he adds.
For the Algarve Entrepreneur Confederation, "there is an urgent need to resume negotiations with the United Kingdom, the Portuguese Government has an obligation to defend Portuguese economic interests, by integrating Portugal into the English air corridors".
João Fernandes, president of Turismo do Algarve, reacted, right after the announcement of this decision to exclude Portugal from the list published by the United Kingdom of countries deemed safe to travel, considering it "particularly unfair".
João Soares, representative of the Portuguese Hotel Association for the Algarve, stated that this exclusion “is a serious blow to the hotel industry and to all activities that are linked to tourism”.
As for Elidérico Viegas, of the Association of Hoteliers and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA), he asked for the “revocation of the measure”, considering that the Algarve is not suffering from the same consequences as those of the current outbreaks in the Lisbon area.
Moreover, PM António Costa expressed his disdain for the decision in a tweet, displaying a chart showing the low levels of coronavirus per 100,000 people in the Algarve, in comparison to the UK.
It comes after the Portuguese foreign affairs minister branded it "absurd" that Portugal had been left off the new list despite the UK having 28 times more deaths related to coronavirus.
The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) published the list of 73 countries and territories, which features popular short-haul destinations such as Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, as well as long-haul locations including Australia, Barbados, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Vietnam. But China, Portugal, Thailand, the Maldives and the US are among the notable absentees.