Madeira Islands deserve to stay on the UK Government’s green list and should not be categorised with the rest of mainland Europe, being 1077km away and having a unique set of circumstances.
Madeira is a very popular destination in the UK and currently offers 22 direct flights per week from several airports in the UK.
The Covid-19 situation in Madeira is under excellent control. In the past month there has been a 45% decrease and there are only 150 active cases (22 cases per 100K inhabitants in the last seven days, versus 33.7 cases per 100K in the UK), which is one of the lowest rates in Europe. Porto Santo, Madeira’s sister island, does not have any active cases at the moment. There are no registered cases of the new Indian or Nepali variants in the destination. Furthermore 38% of the population has been vaccinated, including most tourism professionals.
Eduardo Jesus, Regional Secretary for Tourism and Culture said of the announcement: “The UK government’s decision is unfair, inadequate, and unfounded. An urgent review is required for Madeira for positive discrimination. We are utilising all channels to reinforce this message with the decision-makers in the UK, who will find it hard to encounter an alternative European tourist destination with the same level of security as Madeira and Porto Santo”.
Since the start of the pandemic, the archipelago has been considered one of the safest destinations in Europe and has been widely praised for its response to the pandemic. It was named one of the safest destinations for 2021 (European Best Destinations).
Madeira has done everything possible to welcome tourists, whilst remaining safe. Madeira was the first EU destination with a green travel corridor – receiving vaccinated tourists or those fully recovered from Covid-19 without testing on arrival. Other tourists needed proof of a negative test done within 72 hours or could take the free PCR test on arrival with results in 12 hours (depending on the regulations in the country of origin). They were one of the first destinations to offer free PCR tests (either taken on arrival or departure). The testing procedure in the destination has been internationally recognised.
Madeira Islands have focused on positioning as a Covid-safe destination, working with SGS, the world leader in certification, to ensure good practice across the destination to minimise risk in the wake of Covid-19. The certification process is available to all companies in the tourism sector, with 56 companies now certified. Furthermore, Madeira was a pioneer in the whole of Portugal in developing a good practices document to deal with Covid-19.