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Portugal has re-emphasised the country’s safe tourism bona fides in response to the UK government’s re-introduction of quarantine restrictions for returning travellers. For three weeks the country was exempt from Britain’s self-quarantine regulation before a rise in coronavirus cases (above a specific measuring threshold) prompted British authorities to reimpose the contentious 14-day isolation rule. Portugal’s… Read more about UK Quarantine Update: Algarve Region Highlights...
Portugal has re-emphasised the country’s safe tourism bona fides in response to the UK government’s re-introduction of quarantine restrictions for returning travellers.
For three weeks the country was exempt from Britain’s self-quarantine regulation before a rise in coronavirus cases (above a specific measuring threshold) prompted British authorities to reimpose the contentious 14-day isolation rule.
Portugal’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying, “We regret the British decision to exclude mainland Portugal from the list of countries exempt from quarantine. But we value they kept Azores and Madeira.”
On Twitter, the ministry added that Portugal’s “health rules and the effectiveness of our national health service have allowed us to control the effects of the pandemic”.
The same as with many other countries around the world, the spread of the coronavirus pandemic has varied significantly across Portugal. The Algarve, for example, has been one of the least affected regions, while a significant proportion of the new cases are being confirmed in Greater Lisbon and the northern areas.
Speaking to SIC Television, Algarve Tourism Bureau president João Fernandes said Britain’s decision “will have a considerable impact” on the region but added that it was already expected.
The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office currently advises against all but essential travel to mainland Portugal (the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores are exempt).
Nevertheless, the FCDO is not recommending that those already travelling in mainland Portugal should leave at this time. “You should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect yourself and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus. Contact your travel operator if you have any questions about your return journey.
“If you are travelling to England, Wales or Northern Ireland from mainland Portugal, you may need to self-isolate on your return (unless you are exempt). If you are travelling to Scotland from mainland Portugal or the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days on your return (unless you are exempt).
Portugal’s foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva has stressed that “for tourists who come by air, Portugal will not impose a quarantine”. Instead, the country – including the Algarve region – is focusing on “minimal health controls” to keep travellers and locals safe.
These include Turismo de Portugal’s launch of another product “to reinforce the confidence of tourists visiting the country, facilitating and promoting compliance with health preventive measures for the dissemination of Covid-19”.
Distributed to tourists arriving in the country, the “Tourist Clean & Safe” kit will will contain two “Portuguese Mask”, CITEVE level 3 certification masks (“which meet the safety criteria for the general population and are 100 per cent biodegradable, thus reducing the impact on the environment”), an alcohol gel pack, protection advice and a “QR Code” to access the website portugalcleanandsafe.com – which provides information on companies with “Clean & Safe” certification.
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Travelling to the Algarve last week, George Coetzee had some impressive pedigree in his golfing luggage. At 34 he was a four-time Tour champion, but all those wins had come in Africa: three in his home country of South Africa and one in Mauritius. At the end of the week, he had rectified that anomaly,… Read more about South African Golf Star Wins Portugal Masters in the Algarve The post South African Golf Star Wins Portugal Masters in the Algarve appeared first on Faro...
Travelling to the Algarve last week, George Coetzee had some impressive pedigree in his golfing luggage. At 34 he was a four-time Tour champion, but all those wins had come in Africa: three in his home country of South Africa and one in Mauritius. At the end of the week, he had rectified that anomaly, with a two-stroke victory in the Portugal Masters.
His first Tour victory on European soil was achieved with an impeccable short game that helped him fend off the challenges of several players, including 2017 European Tour number one Tommy Fleetwood, at 16th the highest world-ranked player in the field.
Coetzee carded a spotless final-round 66, including five birdies and some excellent par saves. He parred his opening six holes to slip from the top of the leaderboard but, staying patient, he made his first birdies on the seventh and eighth to regain a one-stroke lead.
He birdied the 11th and came home strongly with two more birdies on the 16th and 17th to move to 16-under par and enjoy a two-shot cushion as he teed off on the 18th.
A nerveless final par secured a second win in a row, as he had also lifted the Titleist Championship trophy at Pretoria Country Club on the Sunshine Tour the previous week.
Englishman Laurie Canter was second on 14-under after a matching flawless 66, and countryman Fleetwood shared third place another stroke back with Swede Joakim Lagergren.
Speaking after his “breakthrough” triumph, Coetzee said, “(Winning in Europe) was the next step for me really. I have always had a list of things I wanted to achieve in my career as a golfer and originally I never thought I would get as far as winning on the European Tour, so ticking that box a while back was really nice, and then I started to realise that I was a bit comfortable playing back home and I needed to go to the next step and win away from home.
“And then I won in Mauritius, which still counts as a Sunshine Tour event, so I still felt like I needed to get off my continent and win something else. So I am just happy that I kind of ticked the box in the right order.
“I remember as an amateur I had to win a national stroke play event and then try and win one of the big three national match play events. I ended up winning the South African amateur match play before I won the stroke play event, and I felt like I needed to take a step back and figure out how to win a stroke play event. It is nice that I am ticking the boxes that I have set for myself.”
In spite of falling short of victory, Fleetwood was still delighted with his performance, before heading to Winged Foot Golf Club in New York for this week’s U.S. Open Championship.
The Ryder Cup star began the final round five shots behind Coetzee but a 64 set the clubhouse target and put him into serious contention with Coetzee still out on the course.
“I’m happy with how I played,” said 29-year-old Fleetwood, “and it’s nice to put yourself in contention after hitting shots like on the 17th and 18th coming down the stretch. I did some really good practice (before the event) and I wanted to play this week because, at the end of the day, I was working on things that I know were right, I had simple thoughts this week, but you have to hit shots like 17 and that is the only time you are going to find out how it’s doing. So that was my most pleasing thing, the way I played, the way I hit it.”
On the eve of the tournament, Fleetwood had explained his surprising Algarve detour, before the second major of the year, to Golf Digest…
“This week was something that popped up on my schedule. I haven’t played as I would want recently. So I wanted some ‘real’ golf before Winged Foot. Last year, I arrived at Pebble Beach for the U.S. Open not having played for three weeks, which was a mistake. I came off saying I won’t do that again. I wasn’t as sharp as I would like to be. So the Portugal Masters is an ideal opportunity for me to play competitively. Plus, the course is different this year. There is a bit of rough up. So it’s a tougher test. It will be good preparation.”
The European Tour now moves up the Portuguese coast to Royal Óbidos.
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The European Tour’s Iberian Swing is now underway at Spain’s renowned Royal Valderrama Club before moving to the Algarve next week. Following a major reshaping of the Tour to accommodate COVID-19 protocols for major sports events, Europe’s top players have set up “bubble” camp in southern Europe for consecutive events in Spain and Portugal. The… Read more about Algarve Set to Host Next Leg of Iberian Golf Swing The post Algarve Set to Host Next Leg of Iberian Golf Swing...
The European Tour’s Iberian Swing is now underway at Spain’s renowned Royal Valderrama Club before moving to the Algarve next week.
Following a major reshaping of the Tour to accommodate COVID-19 protocols for major sports events, Europe’s top players have set up “bubble” camp in southern Europe for consecutive events in Spain and Portugal.
The Tour returned to action in July after its postponement in March, with a new schedule based on holding events (where possible) in regional or territorial clusters. Initially, two events were held in Austria, before the new six-event UK Swing was inaugurated.
The Iberian Swing began this week at Valderrama – the venue for 25 major tournaments over the past three decades, including the 1997 Ryder Cup – with the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, which originally had been scheduled for April.
Next week (10-13 September), the Tour moves across the border to another celebrated course, Dom Pedro Victoria (Vilamoura), for the Portugal Masters, initially scheduled for October before the season was suspended due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Englishman Steven Brown was a surprise – and extremely happy – winner in 2019 when the Masters was the last regular event of the season.
Then the Iberian Swing concludes with the Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos (north of Lisbon), returning to the European Tour schedule as a dual ranking event from 17 to 20 September. The tournament had already been confirmed for the European Challenge Tour’s Road to Mallorca for a third consecutive year but will now also double up on the European Tour for the first time since 2017.
The 58th edition of the historic event is being promoted by the Portuguese Golf Federation. First played in 1973, it has an impressive honour board of winners including Sam Torrance (1982 and 1983), Colin Montgomerie (1989), Miguel Ángel Jiménez (2004) and Thomas Bjørn (2010).
Matt Wallace won the first of his European Tour tiles the last time the Open de Portugal was part of the main Tour’s Race to Dubai, in 2017, while Dimitrios Papadatos and Adrian Meronk secured their maiden Challenge Tour victories at the event in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Welcoming the tournament’s renewed status, Portuguese Golf Federation president Miguel Franco de Sousa said, “We are very happy to secure another dual ranking Open de Portugal, which moves to Royal Óbidos for the next three years… We believe that Royal Óbidos, a Seve Ballesteros design, will be a good test of golf for both European and Challenge Tour players.
“This event shows our strong commitment to work closely with the European Tour in order to promote Portugal as one of the best golf destinations in the world, on the one hand and, on the other, to provide playing opportunities to our playing professionals, especially in this difficult season with very few tournaments being played.”
All tournaments in the reshaped 2020 season are being governed by the Tour’s comprehensive health strategy, developed by chief medical officer Dr Andrew Murray in consultation with health care specialists Cignpost and advisers in countries that host European Tour events.
They are also being underpinned by the European Tour’s new “Golf for Good” initiative, which “aims to support communities where the European Tour plays, reward true heroes, such as frontline workers, and promote the many health benefits that golf offers”.
Following the practice of playing behind closed doors since the re-start of the 2020 Race to Dubai, the Tour has confirmed that no general spectators will be permitted at the 2020 Portugal Masters or Open de Portugal.
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Airlines have moved quickly to take advantage of the Algarve’s surge in popularity among British holidaymakers who no longer have to endure 14 days of self-isolation on their return. The UK government’s decision to exempt Portugal from its list of countries subject to quarantine restrictions for returning tourists has propelled the Algarve to the top… Read more about Major Airlines Boost Faro Airport Services Following UK Quarantine Reprieve The post Major Airlines Boost Faro...
Airlines have moved quickly to take advantage of the Algarve’s surge in popularity among British holidaymakers who no longer have to endure 14 days of self-isolation on their return.
The UK government’s decision to exempt Portugal from its list of countries subject to quarantine restrictions for returning tourists has propelled the Algarve to the top of the destinations list for many frustrated tourists whose plans for a summer break in the southern European sun had previously been thwarted.
Now they are returning in droves, the main airline companies – including Jet2.com, Wizz Air and Ryanair – are boosting their schedules to cater for increased demand, and Faro Airport’s service staff has been bolstered to smooth their passage through this key international gateway to the Algarve.
Ryanair announced it would be strengthening its connection between the UK and Portugal over the coming weeks (11 September to 24 October) with 14 additional flights to Faro every week from 12 UK airports: Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, East Midlands, Glasgow Prestwick, Liverpool, London Southend, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle and Stansted.
“Ryanair is thrilled to strengthen the connection between the UK and sunny Faro over the coming weeks,” said the airline’s Dara Brady, “making it easier than ever for UK holidaymakers to book that long-awaited trip in the sun.”
Ryanair had previously announced the restoration of its weekly Aberdeen-Faro air route as part of the summer schedule.
Welcoming the “eagerly-awaited change in government advice regarding travel to Portugal”, Jet2.com resumed the company’s flights and holidays programme to Faro from 24 August.
In a press release announcing the new schedule, Jet2.com said, “The sun-soaked Algarve has continued to experience strong demand from our customers despite the government advice that has been in place. We have seen strong demand to Faro since the change in advice and have responded swiftly to the surge in popularity, adding more than 100 new flights from Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, London Stansted, Newcastle and Manchester.
“We are already operating multiple weekly services to Faro from all nine of our UK bases, and this increased capacity will give customers and independent travel agents even more choice and flexibility when it comes to choosing holidays to the Portuguese sunshine.”
According to Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, “Customers are responding to the welcome change in government advice by booking their much-needed holidays in the Portuguese sunshine, and we are responding to that by adding more flights and seats. We want our customers to enjoy their well-deserved holidays, and our decision to act quickly and add even more capacity to Faro ensures they will have plenty of choice.
“With a fantastic choice of flights and holidays, not to mention fantastic deals and free child places available, those looking to get away can take advantage of great choice and value.”
Faro Airport is also benefiting from a decision by Wizz Air to expand its services from Doncaster Sheffield Airport. Doncaster has become the airline company’s second base in the UK, together with London Luton, and it plans to allocate one Airbus A320 aircraft to the Yorkshire airport, and add seven new routes – including Faro Airport from 23 October – to its existing Doncaster Sheffield network of 10 routes.
Wizz Air launched its first flight from Doncaster Sheffield Airport 14 years ago, and since then the company – which describes itself as “Europe’s greenest airline” (based on annual carbon-dioxide emissions) – has grown to be the airport’s largest carrier. Currently, the airline carries one million passengers every year on ultra-low central and eastern European routes.
Now, with the creation of the new base at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Wizz Air plans to launch new connections to Faro (Mondays and Fridays), Alicante and Málaga in Spain, Larnaca in Cyprus, Lublin in Poland, Kosice in Slovakia and Suceava in Romania.
This will increase the annual capacity of Doncaster Sheffield Airport by 150,000 seats, according to Wizz Air, “providing local passengers with even more affordable and exciting travel opportunities”.
The addition of the new Airbus A320 at Doncaster means Wizz Air now has 11 aircraft permanently based in the UK and, with the new routes, will have nearly 1.8 million seats on sale on its 107 routes from the UK for the remainder of 2020.
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Travellers returning to the UK from Portugal will no longer be required to go into 14-day quarantine. The British government has bowed to pressure and added Portugal to the list of countries exempt from the controversial self-isolation rule. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has also decided to exclude Portugal from its advice recommending against all… Read more about Portugal to be Exempt from UK Quarantine Rule The post Portugal to be Exempt from UK Quarantine Rule appeared first on...
Travellers returning to the UK from Portugal will no longer be required to go into 14-day quarantine.
The British government has bowed to pressure and added Portugal to the list of countries exempt from the controversial self-isolation rule. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has also decided to exclude Portugal from its advice recommending against all non-essential international travel.
The new status for Portugal – “based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks” – will officially come into effect at 4am on Saturday 22 August. Travellers will still be required to provide their journey and contact details before returning to the UK.
Portuguese tourism and government authorities were outraged in July when the UK left Portugal off its list of countries covered by the so-called “air corridors”.
Since then, they have mounted a strong campaign in the media – and in diplomatic circles – to highlight the country’s widely praised response to the coronavirus pandemic and the lower levels of contagion – in the Algarve, in particular – compared with other popular tourist destinations for UK tourists.
President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has repeatedly asserted that Portuguese authorities have been exemplary in tackling COVID-19 and people have been meticulously adhering to preventative measures.
During a visit to the Algarve last weekend, the 71-year-old Rebelo de Sousa was famously captured on video helping to rescue two women who had come into difficulty when their kayak capsized off an Algarve beach.
At the start of summer, the president promised to visit every borough in the region to “stimulate confidence” – both for those hoping for a prompt improvement in business and for potential tourists contemplating whether or not it was safe to travel to southern Portugal for a holiday.
The Algarve Tourism Association (ATA) also announced plans this month to launch an advertising campaign on UK-based entertainment Channel 5 with the aim of pressuring UK authorities to lift the restrictions on travellers arriving in the UK from Portugal.
“We’re strongly committed to reversing the negative effects that have resulted from the British government’s decision,” said ATA president João Fernandes in a press release announcing the initiative, “and this means, among other things, reinforcing and repeating the message to that market that the Algarve is a safe destination and that it’s fully prepared to welcome its tourists again with all the quality and well-being to which they’ve always been accustomed.
“As well as promoting the Algarve’s fame as a safe destination, the exhibition of this video will also have a competition aspect, which will allow spectators to take part in a raffle and win a seven-night stay in the region for two people, in a five-star hotel. This prize will be valid until the end of the summer of 2021.”
Another prominent tourism official entering the fray was Alessandra Priante, European director of the World Tourism Organisation, who (while on holiday in Troia) told the Expresso newspaper, “I have never understood the United Kingdom’s problem with Portugal”. Describing Portugal as “a paradise within the context of the pandemic”, she said, “We’re in a safe country. When the pandemic began, we saw some countries react immediately with measures, and one of them was Portugal, which happily has never had many victims.
“I am here on holiday, in a place with 99 per cent occupation, and what I see is everyone wearing masks, respecting the rules, and staff extremely prepared to comply with all the measures.”
Click here for up-to-date flight details so you can make up for lost time and finally plan a summer holiday to the Algarve.
It won’t be possible for many tourists to travel to the Algarve this week for their traditional summer holiday, but they can still enjoy one of the region’s most spectacular attractions. Tourism authorities are inviting people to “discover probably the best sunset in the world” from this Friday to Sunday (14-16 August), via a live… Read more about Stunning Natural Spectacle Streamed Live from the Algarve The post Stunning Natural Spectacle Streamed Live from the Algarve appeared...
It won’t be possible for many tourists to travel to the Algarve this week for their traditional summer holiday, but they can still enjoy one of the region’s most spectacular attractions.
Tourism authorities are inviting people to “discover probably the best sunset in the world” from this Friday to Sunday (14-16 August), via a live streaming from Sagres – the most south-western point of Portugal and Europe.
Called “Sagres Sunset Shots”, the event is being promoted by Algarve Tourism Bureau in partnership with Vila do Bispo municipality. The area’s exceptional sunset attracts thousands of visitors every year, but obviously some are being forced to miss this year’s spectacle because of coronavirus travel restrictions.
So in 2020, for the first time, the event will be animated with music and shared with awe-struck viewers around the world.
Each night, as the sun is setting, performances by national artists and DJs will be filmed with three cameras, including a drone, to provide the best views possible, and they will be streamed live on the Algarve Tourism and VisitAlgarve Facebook pages as well as the Visit Algarve YouTube page – between 8pm and 9pm, depending on when the sun starts to set.
According to Algarve Tourism Bureau president João Fernandes, “The Sagres Sunset Shots allows us to show the beauty of another corner of our region, now enriched with an entertainment component, through music. Given the current restrictions, this is an event specially designed to be experienced online, with live streaming, so we are sure it will capture all the charm of this natural landscape and surprise those who join us through social networks.”
The event will showcase the moment when the colours of the sun gradually change and the blue sea of the Atlantic Ocean turns golden, as the sun eventually disappears on the horizon. At that time, according to the organisers, the light of the Cabo de São Vicente lighthouse (one of the most powerful in the world) is switched on, and the brightness of the beam gains intensity even at dusk. “It is one of the most emblematic landscapes in the region.”
Noting that the initiative is both “differentiating and engaging“, Vila do Bispo mayor Adelino Soares said, “The Sagres Sunset Shots presents an enormous potential to make the beauty of our landscape known to thousands of potential visitors. Sharing this natural setting in our municipality is an opportunity to reinforce the tourist promotion of the destination, which has unique attractions and provides unforgettable experiences for those who visit us.”
Sagres Sunset Shots features the signature “The Algarve looks good at sunset” slogan, establishing a link to the destination’s new promotional campaign, which aims to motivate national and foreign tourists to enjoy their holidays in the Algarve, “the main tourist destination in the country”.
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