British get ‘holiday feeling’ again after flying to Madeira

Relaxed British tourists say they are enjoying the ‘holiday feeling’ in Madeira again after the easing of coronavirus restrictions allowed some overseas travel to return.

Passengers on morning flights to the Portuguese island from London Gatwick and Birmingham airports were among the first to take advantage of changes to Covid rules for people traveling from England on Monday.

A three-quarter full Tui plane flying from Gatwick to Cristiano Ronaldo Airport near Funchal erupted into applause as it landed at the Green List destination with happy travelers on board.

After negotiating the demands of the sometimes “stressful” last minute pre-departure testing to visit Madeira, holidaymakers from Tui described the “overwhelming” feeling of being away again after several months.

John and Victoria Perfect, aged 61 and 60, from Cannock, Staffordshire, arrived from Birmingham and spoke to the PA News Agency by the poolside of the Riu Palace hotel.

Ms Perfect, a freelance esthetician who performs procedures such as Botox, said it was “absolutely unbelievable” to be away after the pandemic left her “sitting at home doing nothing”.

“It’s just heaven for me. It is also social contact with people. This morning, I just had a smile on my face, ”she added.

Ms. Perfect has had two surgeries in the past few months and has endured periods of isolation and recovery at home away from her family.

“It has been a little dark for me really, especially not having granddaughters,” she said, adding that her goal on vacation was to “do nothing really, just relax and enjoy again. of this holiday feeling, of the sun and the sea “.

The couple paid £ 80 each at the airport to complete their pre-departure test to visit the island.

Sitting nearby, solo traveler Mikail Khan, 34, from London, only booked her flight to Birmingham four days ago in search of a ‘break from work’ and an opportunity to ‘recharge “.

The owner of a property management and investment firm added: “It’s quite stressful running your own business, but doing it during the pandemic makes it even more difficult.”

Mr Khan said he was unable to access the website of Tui’s testing partner company Chronomics and instead paid £ 100 for a private test before departure.

“To be honest you don’t have a choice, you have to do it if you want a break,” he said.

Tui – the UK’s largest tour operator – offers test packages to customers ranging from £ 20 to £ 90, with delivery and return charges included in the price.

Kits must be ordered before certain times depending on the departure date.

According to the Visit Madeira website, travelers wishing to visit the island must have proof of a negative Covid PCR test performed 72 hours before boarding a flight, or show that they have been vaccinated or provide a medical document confirming that they have recovered from the virus emitted. in the last 90 days.

Bars and restaurants on the island are to close at 10 p.m. and operate at reduced capacity, while a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. is also in place throughout the week.

Madeira is one of the few destinations on the Green List where people visiting from England will now no longer need to self-quarantine on their return and will only have to take a single coronavirus test after arriving in the House.

Lee Moran, 37, and Toni Bowers, 39, of Leicester, also arrived from Birmingham Airport after booking their holidays on Thursday.

The couple, who said they had to drop off their self-administered PCR tests in Birmingham for treatment, said it was “a little stressful” and worried they would be ready in time for their trip.

But Ms Bowers, who works in sales, said being in Madeira had left her “speechless”, adding: “I think we take it for granted sometimes, get on a plane and go somewhere.

“Because we haven’t been able to do this for a year and a half, you like it a little more.”

Damien Liddle, 40, from Norwich, said after some ‘mixed messages’ and spending £ 60 on a test package, he found himself driving two and a half hours in Peterborough on Friday to a test center.

“I wouldn’t have booked the vacation if I had known this was happening,” he admitted, adding that it had been a “stress” to wait and see if he would receive his result in time for him. the trip.

Sitting next to his partner Rachel Butcher, 37, he added: “Here we are, the weather is nice, we can’t really ask for more … it’s good that things are moving forward.”

Ms Butcher, who runs a fashion store with Mr Liddle, said: “I don’t plan on really doing anything except sitting on a sun lounger.

“Must be better than the weather at home, it was raining when we left.


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