Portugal: UK COVID-19 quarantine restriction hits tourism in the Algarve

People walk in the old city center of Silves on April 18, 2018 in the southern Portugal region of Algarve.
People walk in the old city center of Silves on April 18, 2018 in the southern Portugal region of Algarve. Copyright Ludovic MARIN / AFP
By Daniel Bellamy
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Industry analysts say only about a third of the usual number of tourists will visit Portugal's Algarve region this summer.

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As with many regions in Europe that rely on tourism, Portugal's Algarve is being badly hit by coronavirus travel restrictions.

Industry analysts say only about a third of the usual number of tourists will visit this summer.

Around 30 percent of the Algarve's tourists usually come from the UK and about half of all tourists arriving at the main airport, Faro, are from there.

But UK citizens now face two weeks of quarantine once they return home, if they travel to Portugal.

One Algarve restaurant owner described the predicament his business is now in.

"We made the investment hoping it would be a good year. At this time of year, we would have to serve between 300 and 350 people a day, including meals. We currently serve between 30 to 40," Carlos Guerreiro said.

And one bartender told a similar story.

"We have between 10 and 20 percent of our customer capacity throughout the day. And just when we start to have more movement when people leave after dinner - between 2200-2230, we have to close at 2300," João Santos said.

In response Portugual's ambassador to the UK has told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that the quarantine restrictions are based on "bad science."

Meanwhile businesses in the region say they're worried about how the tourist sector can survive.

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