European hotspot reopens for tourists in time for summer – but will Britons be welcome?

Portuguese island Madeira is the latest country to announce plans to welcome back international tourists following the coronavirus lockdown. The island, which is situated off the northwest coast of Africa and is an autonomous region of Portugal, will reopen to visitors on July 1.


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However, in order to meet the entry criteria, visitors must be able to prove they do not have coronavirus (COVID-19).

Tourists will either have to show documentation confirming they have received a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours prior to their arrival, or they can receive a free test which will be administered by authorities upon arrival.

The tests will be free to those entering the holiday destination.

Authorities also working to implement a COVID-free certificate which will be given to tourism businesses in Madeira.

It is hoped this will provide peace of mind for the safety of travellers.

“Madeira Islands are focused on positioning as a COVID-safe destination,” said the country’s tourism officials.

“Furthermore, Madeira was a pioneer in the whole of Portugal in developing a good practices document to deal with COVID-19. These measures will provide comfort to those who travel and it is ultimately for the wellbeing of all.”

The country recorded no deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, and just 90 cases.

The tourism board added: “The Portuguese outpost of Madeira has had very few cases of COVID-19 and acted quickly to control the virus on the archipelago (Portugal has been widely praised for its rapid response).

“It is an island in the Atlantic, with relatively low visitor and transit numbers, which makes Madeira an exceptionally safe holiday option.”

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While some countries, such as Greece, are whitelisting international visitors from certain places, Madeira has not set out any such measures.

Greece is currently not welcoming British tourists back despite restarting its tourism season.

Madeira is a three and a half-plane journey from the UK and is famed for its year-round warm temperatures.

In the summer it reaches highs of around 27 degrees, meanwhile, in the winter months, temperatures stay at approximately 17 degrees.


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Last year, the country also won the award for Best Island Destination in Europe as part of the World Travel Awards.

Madeira is the latest in a string of European destinations gearing up to welcome back international tourists in the summer months.

Earlier this week Spain said it would be allowing visitors back into the country without the need for a 14-day quarantine as of July 1.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya confirmed the news on her Twitter profile saying: “The worst is behind us.

“In July we will gradually open Spain to international tourists, lift the quarantine, ensure the highest standards of health safety.

“We look forward to welcoming you!”

Meanwhile, Portugal and the UK could be set to establish an ‘air bridge’ between the two countries.

This decision could see travellers allowed to visit the country without the need for a 14-day quarantine period.

The air corridor would also allow British visitors to Portugal to avoid having to quarantine after returning home too, according to two Portuguese sources speaking to Reuters.

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