Portugal lays plans for restart of tourist sector

Portugal's Directorate-General for Health (DGS) said today that it is finalising rules for tourism in Portugal at a time of pandemic, and is not expecting "a very large flow" and that it will "have to be controlled", to avoid further contagion, The Portugal News reports.

"Regarding tourism, there are several things that have to be considered here, and one of them has to do with the flow of people, which is not expected to be very large, but has to be controlled in order to be able to comply with rules", declared the general director of Health, Graça Freitas, in Lisbon.

Responding to questions from Lusa at the daily press conference on the evolution of covid-19 in the country - and days before the European Commission issued guidelines for Member States to adopt on the recovery of the tourism sector - Graça Freitas stressed the need to “make compatible flows of people with health and safety rules”.

“And these rules have to do, with regard to the tourism sector, with the catering - and there is already an orientation for that, about how is the capacity, the behaviour and the rules of the organisation -, then the hotel sector, in that we are working on, and then a very important area, that of the beaches, of how they are going to be used, whether for internal tourism, or for external tourism”, she said.

Indicating that these rules are being finalised to be immediately aligned with the Brussels guidelines, which will be known on Wednesday, Graça Freitas noted that the country will “try to recover the normal [tourist] activity”, namely taking into account the next summer season, but reiterated that this will always be a “different normality, with different rules”.

In 2019 Portugal received a record 24 million tourists from every corner of the planet placing it in 17th position in the ranking of the countries worldwide which received the greatest number of tourists according to the WTO.

The tourism sector accounts for 10% of the country's GDP.

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