This Tuesday, July 8, Clément Beaune invited the French to avoid traveling to Spain and Portugal this summer in the face of the surge in Covid cases. What if you have already booked your stay? We take stock with Jean-Pierre Pinheiro, director of the Portuguese tourist office.
As president of Adonet (Association of Foreign Tourist Offices) and Portugal’s tourist office, how do you position yourself on the health degradation in Europe ?
It is very difficult to speak out on behalf of all because, even if Adonet brings together many destinations, each country has its own communication policy. As far as Portugal is concerned, I am obviously concerned about the situation, which is developing in a negative way. But I have confidence in the measures that have been taken. In the cities particularly affected by the new contaminations, the curfew at 11 p.m. has been introduced. However, there is no question of reconfiguring. The situation is not too penalizing for visitors as long as restaurants, shops and museums remain open. The vaccination rate is 38% in Portugal, one point higher than in France (where 37.15% of the population received both doses, editor’s note), and the situation is reviewed every week to take stock of the incidence rate. We have something to stay positive.
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What advice do you have for travelers who have already booked their vacations to Portugal?
To be reassured. Today, a label has been put in place to limit risks in hotels, furnished rentals and restaurants. The sanitary rules are strict and all barrier gestures remain in force in public places and transport. We had the honesty and transparency to take action as soon as the incidence rate started to rise again. The European agreement, which specifies the rules of free movement between the countries of the European Union, determined that the passage in the red zone was recorded beyond 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Spain is at 250, and Portugal, 160. We are therefore far from the emergency situation and there is no more risk in going to Spain, Italy or Portugal than staying in France. .
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A Defense Council scheduled for Monday suggests possible restrictions in France. If the government restricts travel, will tourists be reimbursed?
I cannot take a position on this question, but one thing is certain: tourism professionals apply ever more flexible cancellation conditions. We do not have precise figures, but we know that many French people are planning to go to southern Europe this summer. According to airlines and travel agencies, Spain, Portugal and Greece are the top three in bookings. Unfortunately, it seems that the hasty statements of Clément Beaune, the Secretary of State for European Affairs, have already started to trigger a series of cascading cancellations. We receive worried calls and emails from travelers and professionals alike. But for now, there is no point in making final decisions.
SEE ALSO – Delta variant: Clément Beaune asks the French to avoid Portugal and Spain for this summer