Madeira and Porto Santo Islands have been included in the global list of destinations exempt from the Foreign & Commonwealth advice against ‘all but essential’ travel.
The duo is included alongside the Azores as the only two Portuguese territories to make the list.
Madeira has had a strong track record in dealing with the global outbreak of Covid-19, recognised internationally as a success story.
The destination implemented restrictive measures to contain the outbreak, even before the first cases arrived in Portugal.
The region closed to all tourism in March.
Due to this, and the full cooperation of government authorities, population and businesses, the spread of Covid-19 was contained.
Madeira and Porto Santo Islands registered only 92 positive cases (90 already recovered) and zero deaths.
On Madeira official commemoration day, July 1st, the destination re-opened to tourism.
In order to ensure security for both visitors and residents, all people travelling to these Atlantic islands will have to either present a negative test done within 72 hours prior to departure or be tested upon arrival, without any costs – Covid-19 tests on arrival will be paid for by the Madeira government.
They will also cover the cost of medical care, lodging and meals for those that arrive and are tested positive for Covid-19.
The Madeira Islands launched Madeira Safe to Discover programme that includes several initiatives to position the destination as a Covid-safe destination.
Madeira – which is considered the World’s Leading Island Destination by voters at the World Travel Awards – was also a pioneer in developing a good practices document to deal with Covid-19.
Madeira Promotion Bureau is working with SGS, world leader in certification, to ensure the islands are certified in good practices to prevent biological hazards.
All tourists on the islands will have access to an app where they will be able to report their health situation and a 24/7 helpline is made available for those in need of health assistance.
Britain has enjoyed a long and positive relationship with Madeira.
The first British community on the island was in the 16th century, as it was a port of call for many British ships.
In the 19th century British people were amongst the first European tourists.
The British launched the first hotel in Madeira and nowadays some hotels are still run by British families.
The UK is still one of the most significant markets to Madeira.
Last year Madeira and Porto Santo hosted almost 300,000 British guests, who represented more than 1.8 million overnights on the islands.
Nuno Vale, executive director of Madeira Promotion Bureau said: “We are proud of our collective response to this pandemic, working as a team across the destination to ensure the best possible results, both for those who live on the islands and for those who love to visit it. We are delighted that we can continue to welcome guests from the United Kingdom who have such a special affinity with our sub-tropical destination in the Atlantic.”
The islands are all about the outdoors, and two thirds of the island are protected area, where construction is restricted and human presence is very low, making it ideal for post-pandemic travel.
Porto Santo beach was the first European beach to open and is considered one of the safest beach destinations this year.
Madeira and Porto Santo are indeed one of safest European holiday destinations to visit in 2020, with all-year warmth making it a great choice for a summer or winter break.