Anger from Algarve expat entrepreneurs forced to lay off employees and see another lost summer after the UK government put Portugal on the Amber List
- British companies in the Algarve have laid off staff following Amber’s move
- They say the government’s sudden decision means another lost tourist summer means
- Before Covid, travel and tourism accounted for 20 percent of Portugal’s GDP in 2019
British business owners in the Algarve say they were forced to lay off employees after the government’s decision on the Amber List caused them to expect another lost tourist summer.
Companies have been inundated with cancellations, saying the abrupt move meant “no one can have confidence in the UK government’s policies regarding outbound travel”.
Bex and John Seabrook, originally from London, own BJ’s Oceanside Restaurant near Quarteira. British vacationers account for 90 percent of their sales.
Ms Seabrook, 39, said the initial shock at Portugal’s removal from the “green list” had now given way to “anger and a terrible feeling of helplessness”.
Bex and John Seabrook own BJ’s Oceanside Restaurant, which is where British vacationers make up 90 percent of their sales
They were forced to reduce the workforce from 40 to 30, with Mr Seabrook, 38, adding, “Unfortunately, this announcement means that we will have no work for some of them until the tourists return.
“In some cases, this means that they are struggling to make ends meet and put food on their family’s table. This decision is so far-reaching. ‘
Travel and tourism accounted for 20 percent of Portugal’s gross domestic product in 2019 – mostly from popular tourist areas such as the Algarve.
While the UK government says the data is under constant review, Ms. Seabrook said, “The symbolism of this announcement means that no one can trust this government’s policies regarding overseas travel.”
Tom Willis, 61, has been running the Hotel Center Algarve in Moncarapacho with his wife Belinda, 55, and children Amy, 23, and Sam, 27, for 11 years.
Thousands of desperate vacationers are trying to get out of Portugal before Thursday
“Our unique complex specializes in vacationing for families with special needs or disabled children who need time off here,” said Willis. “Since the decision to put the Algarve on amber, so many have had to cancel because they are unable to go home in quarantine.”
He added, “Many of our ancestral families are now heartbroken. They have suffered more than most from lockdowns and dealing with their children’s special needs. The whole family needs a well-deserved break and their children are devastated. ‘
‘My husband is dying … this was our last family vacation’
The family of a terminally ill man who is going on one last vacation together has had their flight canceled due to the sudden introduction of travel restrictions.
Faye Cheetham, her husband Andy and their children were planning to travel to Portugal on Wednesday.
But after thousands of Britons canceled their plans when the country was moved from the “green list” to Amber, the family’s flight was canceled last Friday.
Ms. Cheetham of Salford, Greater Manchester, said they were now determined to rebook their trip.
“We’ll still be traveling, but it financially affects our plans and my children’s education,” she added.
“My husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer – he had a really good time from chemotherapy, so we booked Portugal because it was on the green list.
“This could possibly be our last family vacation, so we’ll be going there. We need it and the kids need it.
“I can’t stand the thought of telling the kids we can’t go.”
The family is now charged between £ 300 and £ 500 extra to find another flight, while the cost of additional Covid tests has risen to £ 840.
Ms. Cheetham also said she was concerned that further changes to the rules could invalidate her travel insurance for medical reasons.