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Open skies pact “increasingly important” for Portugal tourism, says UK Ambassador

Britain’s Ambassador to Portugal has said that completing an Open Skies agreement with the European Union is “increasingly important” for the development of the country’s tourism sector.

Kirsty Hayes explained to delegates at Aito’s overseas conference held at the Portuguese city of Evora that the extended services of low-cost carriers, such as easyJet and Monarch, have helped spur tourist arrivals from the UK visitors to the country.

“Sadly we lost Monarch this year but a number of other carriers still want to fly and at the moment, their ability to operate between Portugal and the UK is governed by the [Maastricht Treaty],” she said.

“The ability of people to easily visit other nations with low levels of bureaucracy is very important,” Hayes added.

Hayes, the British ambassador to this part of the world since 2014, admitted that when it comes to the travel industry, “there is a lot of uncertainty and that is not good when you are trying to run a business.”

Hayes went on to vow to attendees that she believed whatever the outcome of ongoing Brexit negotiations, “British people will continue to visit Portugal [post-Brexit] and the Portuguese people will still want British tourists.”

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