The contrast between 2020 and 2021 is becoming increasingly clear, as more and more countries look towards easing their travel restrictions ahead of what is projected to be a summer of long-overdue travel. Whilst the situation isn’t completely back to normal, the signs are encouraging, as two more European countries announced that they would ease their restrictions in the past few days. Portugal and the Netherlands – two of Europe’s most popular travel destinations – are the countries making the headlines this time – here’s what travelers need to know about the change they are making.
Portugal To Ease Restrictions – What Travelers Should Know
Portugal is one of the most popular destinations in Europe, welcoming almost 28 million travelers in 2019 and also reporting record numbers of American travelers in the same year. For a country that depends on tourism, the pandemic has hit the Iberian country hard – which is why the country is took steps this week towards re-opening to foreign tourists once more.
Since January, Portugal has only allowed travel for essential reasons – even for fellow members of the EU – as the country tried to get on top of the Covid-19 situation within its borders. However, from tomorrow, Portugal’s strict travel restrictions will hopefully be a thing of the past, with the country set to allow non-essential travel for those from EU countries, along with selected other nationalities.
A statement from Portugal’s ministry of internal affairs read:
“From 17 May, all passengers arriving from countries in the European Union, countries associated with the Schengen space (Liechtenstein, Norway, Ireland and Switzerland) and the United Kingdom, that present an infection rate of Sars-Cov-2 inferior to 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, can do all type of travels to Portugal, including non-essential trips.”
Those flying to Portugal will still need to provide a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before departure. According to a statement, the country has trained thousands of workers in the hospitality section as part of a “clean and safe” initiative, and will ensure that the country has the sufficient testing capacity needed to welcome a large influx of tourists, which will give inbound passengers peace of mind.
Netherlands’ Travel Updates – Information for Travelers
Whilst the Netherlands’ changes to their travel restrictions aren’t as far-reaching as Portugal’s, they are still a positive sign that things are moving in the right direction. The country had imposed an international travel ban on its citizens until May 15th, which has now been updated to allow Dutch travelers to visit a handful of countries due to their low infections rates. The move comes as the Netherlands looks to ease several of restrictions, such as extending café and restaurant opening times and reopening zoos and theme parks.
Under new rules – which sees countries split into a color-coded system, where each color has its own rules – Dutch travelers are now able to visit the following countries:
Aruba, Aegean Islands (with the exception of Crete), the Balearic Islands (including Mallorca, Ibiza and Formentera), Bonaire (from May 19th), the Canary Islands, Curacao, Finland, Ireland, the Ionian Islands, Malta, Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores), Rwanda, St. Martin and Thailand.
The gentle easing of restrictions by the likes of the Netherlands and Portugal is very much a precursor to a larger-scale reopening in June, when the EU will be set to welcome vaccinated travelers from all over the world into its member states.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com