It's been against the law in England to go on holiday however all that now changes as Portugal prepares to welcome tourists.
MICHELLE CLIFFORD: There are few better ways to see the gem that is the Algarve than from the water. We set off from the Marina at Vilamoura, bouncing past beaches and resorts which would usually be much, much busier at this time of year. Some tourists are missing-- UK holidaymakers, who haven't been able to visit Portugal for months and their absence has hit all sectors of the tourism industry hard.
CRISTIAN CORDAIRO: We would say that 90% of the tourists that we have around here is from UK. So we missed all of that last year. Basically, we tried to keep as much people employed as we could. But obviously, with a lack of tourism, there was a lot of people that had to leave the company.
MICHELLE CLIFFORD: But things are about to change with Portugal added to the UK's green list, meaning visitors won't have to quarantine when going home. Many rushed to book their flights, but had an anxious wait to hear whether the Portuguese government would let them in. It's given the go ahead for UK travelers. That news has created a surge of optimism right across the Algarve amongst the thousands employed in the tourist industry, from those who carry out daily excursions to people employed in hotels, bars, and restaurants. They're all desperate to get the Brits back.
At the heart of Vilamoura, restaurant owner Gabriel and his wife Elena ready for what they believe is going to be their best period in months. COVID restrictions on travel took their biggest client base of UK holidaymakers away and that in turn took their savings. But with British visitors about to descend on the Algarve again, the reservation book is looking healthy.
GABRIEL ROBU: Straight away after they put the news on TV, people-- they start phoning, making bookings. So that gives you hope for the future.
MICHELLE CLIFFORD: There are a few places in the Algarve that rely on British tourists more than Albufeira. We're in the hours before holiday flights from the UK resume. The normally heaving strip was quiet. And there was excitement amongst the staff who manned the bars and restaurants about being busy once again.
- We miss the British because the British always in the daytime and nighttime. It's really enjoyable to have them. They always make a party.
- We're really looking forward to it. We're really hoping that things will come back round again for us.
MICHELLE CLIFFORD: 20 flights are due into the Algarve's Faro Airport on the first day UK holiday travel is permitted to Portugal. Staff are braced for crowds, but they will be happy to see this airport bustling once again. Perhaps the only people who might be forgiven for feeling a little mournful about the imminent arrivals are some of the locals who've enjoyed having the beaches pretty much to themselves. Michelle Clifford, Sky News, Portugal.