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Portugal holidays hopes for Britons dashed after major U-turn as ‘air bridge’ plan axed

Portugal is a very popular holiday destination with Britons who flock to the country’s Algarve region in the summer. The country’s capital of Lisbon is also a popular destination with Britons who enjoy the city’s heat, food and rich culture. But this year, both destinations may be off the cards after it has emerged that Portugal may not be included in the UK government’s “air bridge” plans.

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“Air bridges”, which were first introduced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, are set to be unveiled on June 29.

The government’s plan is to have a series of short-haul destinations available for Britons to travel to without having to quarantine.

An “air bridge” or an “air corridor”, is a bilateral travel agreement between the UK and another country.

This means people would not need to quarantine when they arrive in the other country, or when they return home.

READ MORE: Martin Lewis issues warning to Britons with holidays booked

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Portugal holidays: British tourists dealt major blow as Portugal ‘air bridge’ plan axed (Image: GETTY)

Portugal holidays: The country’s capital of Lisbon is also a popular destination with Britons (Image: GETTY)

The first air bridges are expected to involve “low-risk” countries such as France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Germany.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the move will help restart the Mediterranean tourism industry from July 4.

But it seems that Portugal may now miss out on the “air bridge” plans.

The country has recently experienced a spike in coronavirus cases meaning that travel between the UK and Portugal could be off limits.

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Luis Araujo, chief executive of Visit Portugal, told the Daily Telegraph this week they were excited to have Britons return to the country.

“We are very excited to be welcoming them back,” he said.

Visit Portugal has been contacted for comment on the ongoing situation.

Portugal welcomed a massive 2.5million visitors from the UK last year.

Portugal holidays: A second list of countries will eventually be unveiled next week (Image: GETTY)

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A second list of countries will eventually be unveiled next week which will include other EU nations.

Denmark, Norway, Finland and Holland are reportedly on the list as well as La Reunion, a French department in the Indian Ocean.

All these destinations have reportedly been deemed “low risk” for UK tourists.

Government ministers are also allegedly looking at a long-haul “air bridge” to Australia.

Global tourism 2020 (Image: EXPRESS)

However, this may be tricky as there would have to be a stop-over which could risk spreading infection.

Destinations such as Gibraltar, Bermuda, Montserrat and the Falklands Islands are also reportedly being considered.

Globally, there have been over 9.5million cases of coronavirus which include just under 500,000 deaths.

According to the latest figures, Portugal had over 300 new cases of the virus and six new deaths in the last 24 hours.

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