Island of Madeira will pay for coronavirus tests for tourists

Portuguese holiday island of Madeira will welcome tourists again from July 1 – and all visitors will be tested for coronavirus for free if they can’t prove they’re negative

  • Tourists will have to undergo the test before they are allowed onto the island 
  • Alternatively, they have to prove they’ve had a negative test in the past 72 hours
  • Madeira’s tourism board says it is positioning itself as a ‘Covid-safe destination’ 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The Portuguese holiday island of Madeira has announced it will pay for all tourists to have a coronavirus test on arrival.

The archipelago, along with its sister island Porto Santo, is set to open to international travellers again from July 1.

But to be allowed in, tourists will either have to present documentation showing they’ve had a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours prior to arriving in Madeira or show they’re in the clear from a free test administered upon arrival. 

The Portuguese holiday island of Madeira, pictured, has announced it will pay for all tourists to have a coronavirus test on arrival

According to the Madeira tourism board, the islands are focusing on positioning themselves as ‘Covid-safe destinations’ and are working with SGS, the ‘world leader in hygiene certification’, to ensure ‘good practice across the destination to minimise risk in the wake of the pandemic’.

It adds that Madeira was a pioneer in Portugal in ‘developing good practices to deal with Covid-19’.

In a statement, the tourism board said: ‘These three initiatives, to cover testing costs, partner with SGS in certification and develop a good practices document, underpin the destination’s determination to ensure a safe tourism location for all visitors.

‘The Portuguese outpost of Madeira has had very few cases of Covid-19 and acted quickly to control the virus on the archipelago (Portugal has been widely praised for its rapid response).

At present, Madeira has registered 90 cases of Covid-19 with 67 of them in patients who have recovered. There have been no deaths

‘It is an island in the Atlantic, with relatively low visitor and transit numbers, which makes Madeira an exceptionally safe holiday option.’

Madeira is a short-haul destination from the UK with a flight time of three and a half hours. Its sub-tropical climate means it is warm all year round.

Outside of the capital, Funchal, the island is sparsely populated and its striking and lush landscape has been classified as a Unesco World Natural Heritage site since December 1999.

The tourism board added: ‘A gentle, safe, and relaxing destination, with excellent healthcare facilities. Madeira has been popular for centuries with UK travellers, who have visited these average climes to optimise health and wellbeing.

‘Recently referred to as Europe’s adventure capital with numerous world-class outdoor pursuits, from canyoning to trail running, it is perfect for those who have increased their fitness levels during lockdown.

Madeira’s sister island of Porto Santo, which is also set to open to international tourists on July 1 

‘Porto Santo, the stunning beach island off Madeira, only two and half hours away by ferry, was the first beach in Europe to officially reopen after Covid-19 and has the added benefit of therapeutic sands – with scientifically proven properties to ease all manner of ailments.

‘There are currently no restrictions to travel between the two islands.’

At present, Madeira has registered 90 cases of Covid-19 with 67 of them in patients who have recovered. There have been no deaths.

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