Off to the the beach, Britons arrive in Portugal

Starved of sun and sea, Britons touched down in Portugal on Monday (May 17) on the first flights since a four-month travel ban between the two countries was lifted.

Matthew Bolden was among the tourists landing in Lisbon Monday morning.

"Oh it is fantastic. The feeling is unbelievable. We got the sun, we got the people, the beaches, the bars. Can't wait."

22 flights from Britain were due to land in Portugal on Monday, with most heading to the southern Algarve region, famed for its beaches and golf courses.

That's where this couple from Manchester is headed:

''Very happy, to relax, we've been hardworking for two years, now back to some nice sun and relax."

"We've had two hard years, two cancelled wedding dates, two cancelled honeymoon dates."

Britons pumped around $3.9 billion into Portugal's economy in 2019.

And tourism companies are hoping their return will provide a much-needed boost to the sector which, in normal times, accounts for 15% of the country's GDP.

Visitors from Britain must present evidence of a negative test taken 72 hours before boarding their flights to Portugal and there is no need to quarantine when returning home.

Data from flight website Skyscanner showed a 616% week-on-week rise in bookings to Portugal in the week of Britain's green list announcement.

Portugal has reopened restaurants and shops, but some capacity limitations remain in place and restaurants must close at 10:30 p.m.

Masks must be worn while walking on the beach and nightclubs and indoor bars selling only alcohol remain closed.

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