Portugal has eased entry restrictions for travellers from the UK, so any visitors with a negative Covid-19 test result can enter.
Changes to the rules were announced in Portugal on Tuesday (August 31) and came into effect on Wednesday (September 1).
The tourist board in the UK welcomed the move but warned the travel trade that the short notice might cause confusion for travellers.
A statement from the tourist board said: “Visit Portugal can confirm that British visitors to mainland Portugal now only need to show a negative PCR or antigen/lateral flow test on entry, and don’t need to be fully-vaccinated.
“Visitors must show that they took their PCR test up to 72 hours before departing for Portugal, or took an antigen test up to 48 hours before departing.
PCR or antigen test certificates must show the ID or Passport Number for the visitor; the type and name of the test; manufacturer; date, time and place (including country) of collection; test result; issuing authority and authentication number.
“Airlines will only allow passengers to board flights to Portugal once they’ve presented the test proof to check-in staff.”
Claudia Miguel, UK director of Visit Portugal, said in a statement to the travel trade that the easing of rules comes as more than 80% of the Portuguese population are now vaccinated.
Miguel also said that the Portuguese island destinations of Madeira and the Azores have different rules so urged the travel trade to check, and said that the short timescale before the implementation of the new rules may cause some initial confusion.
News of the changes to entry restrictions came as new statistics showed the UK was Portugal’s top market for paying visitors in the first six months of 2021.
Between January and June, almost 605,000 bed nights were booked by UK visitors to Portugal, including islands such as Madeira.
Spanish visitors made up the second biggest market, with just over 417,000 bed nights.
UK visitors spent €371.5 million during the six-month period, second only to the French who spent €443.9 million.
Miguel said: “These statistics prove that Portugal remains one of the most popular European destinations for food and drink, culture and heritage and, of course, winter sun.”
A spokesperson for Expedia commented: “As the prospect of colder and darker days loom, the news of Portugal changing its entry requirements for Brits couldn’t have come at a better time and is hugely welcomed. No doubt the news will prompt a significant surge of interest from British holidaymakers checking out their options to get away to the country.”
Expedia also launched the Covid-19 Travel Advisor, an interactive tool powered by Sherpa that helps customers find up-to-date information about travel restrictions in the destination they plan to visit.
• Elsewhere, Croatia has followed the example of Austria and set an expiry date on the validity of vaccinations.
Travellers are only considered immune for 270 days (approximately nine months) after receiving a second vaccination.