Portugal has decided to allow vaccinated American tourists to enter the country this summer in an attempt to save its summer tourist season.
The summer has been badly affected by the ongoing pandemic, and the UK moving Portugal to its amber list – being Portugal’s third biggest visitor – has left the Portuguese tourism industry devastated.
The decision comes after Portugal lost 76% percent of its tourists last year despite Europe opening for travel in 2020. The tourism sector accounts for 19.8% (pre-pandemic) of Portugal’s GDP, making it one of the world’s most tourism-reliant economies.
In 2020, only 4 million visitors entered the country, giving Portugal’s tourism industry the worst results since the 1980s.
The Economy Minister, Pedro Siza Viera, stated “We are in a position to approve the opening of non-essential travel and flights to people from the U.S. to Portugal as long as they have a vaccination certificate.”
The Expected Entry Requirements
Visitors from the United States will be able to enter Portugal as soon as next week (exact date still pending) if they can provide proof of vaccination 14 days before they arrive in Portugal. These vaccines must be approved by the European Medicines Industry, and these include:
- Johnson & Johnson
Furthermore, all visitors from outside the EU – including US travelers – will need to have proof of the full treatment. Unfortunately, if travelers have only had one dose of the above vaccines, they won’t be allowed to enter Portugal.
It is unknown yet if Portugal will also require a negative test to enter, similar to what France is asking for, or if they will allow just the vaccine cards to be enough, like Croatia, Greece, and Spain.
As for the exact start date, the Economy Minister stated, “I believe that next week we will be able to have this up and running.”
Although the current details about American tourists remain slim, Portugal has allowed vaccinated travelers from Italy, Spain, Denmark, Croatia, and Norway to enter the country.
The move to add US travelers to the list is unsurprising when you consider that over 1 million Americans visited Portugal in 2019. Unfortunately, only 135,229 Americans visited in 2020, adding massive pain to hotels, restaurants, and resorts all over the beautiful country.
The Current Restrictions On US Travelers
US citizens cannot enter Portugal at the moment for non-essential travel purposes. Only US citizens with a residency permit from the Portuguese authorities can currently enter the country. If travelers want to visit Portugal, they must apply to the Portuguese authorities under the following categories:
- Professional purposes
- Family reunification
- Humanitarian travel
If US travelers are visiting Portugal, they must show evidence of government approval from the Portuguese authorities before they are allowed to board the plane in the US.
The Current COVID-19 Situation In Portugal
Portugal initially had the virus under control for most of 2020, including the initial outbreak where fellow European nations – such as France, the UK, and Italy – were hit very hard by their first European wave.
However, cases started to rise after the summer months, and Portugal had to enter lockdown over the winter period. Portugal has one of the best European winter climates, but tourists were unable to enter, leaving the tourism industry devastated over the winter period.
At the moment, cases in Portugal remain low with an average of around 600 cases per day. That’s what led to Portugal’s reopening for tourism in recent weeks, and the subsequent easing of restrictions with many of its neighbors.
Portugal has given over 6 million vaccine doses, with an average of 79,349 doses given each day. Therefore, Portugal is quickly vaccinating its population and gearing up to allow the world’s travelers to enter.
The news that Portugal is about to open for US travelers is welcome news to many American tourists after Europe has locked out US travelers since the pandemic began.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories