Prospects for a strong summer for tourism have waned since the UK removed Portugal from its green travel list – a move no one expected and that came as a shock to the sector, which has been preparing to reopen hotels and hire staff. Jorge Rebelo de Almeida, head of the Vila Galé group, criticizes the “hasty decision” of the British government, which has caused a serious setback in Portugal, and predicts that 2021 will be a “still very difficult year”, predicting that only in 2023 it will reach 2019 levels.
How are things going at the beginning of summer? Does the sector suffer from the hangovers of the country leaving the UK Green List?
It was a disastrous start to a sector that had been in an awkward position for more than a year. Getting off the UK green list has had a huge impact and created more difficulties for us, as we have already advanced so we can work harder in the summer. With this sudden, sudden and hasty decision of Mr. Johnson, they totally took the rug out of us. I already said that he only opened the green for Portugal because of the Champions League final – which he didn’t want in England. I even understand that, to the extreme, a country wants to defend its own interests. But what bothered me the most was that they released into the air a series of doubts about the health situation in Portugal, with the delta and Nepal variants, giving numbers that do not even correspond to reality. However, the English were not the only ones who stopped coming. The most serious about this hasty decision by the UK government was the fact that it had a contagious effect on all other markets, who were worried and thought something very complicated had happened in Portugal.
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