Portugal-bound holidaymakers face being turned back when their planes land

Thousands of holiday-seeking Brits who rushed to book breaks in Portugal could face being banned from entering the country.

The Mediterranean sun spot is just one of 12 countries the UK government says people can travel to from May 17, without having to quarantine on their return.

However, the EU lists seven countries which people are allowed to visit from for non-essential purposes, and the UK is not on the list.

While Portugal says it is keen to welcome holidaying Brits, experts say it might be difficult for them to bend the rules.

A senior Portuguese official told the Times newspaper: "If they don’t resolve it, the alternative will be thousands of British visitors being turned away at the airport, which is not a good scenario."

The news is a potential bombshell for UK sun-seekers, many of whom have already started packing, after holiday firms say bookings have soared by as much as 600 per cent. Companies such as easyJet, Ryanair and Jet2 have added hundreds of thousands of extra seats due to demand.

Brittany Ferries even recently announced it could be launching its first ever UK to Portugal ferry service as so many people are desperate to get away for a break.

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Earlier this month, the EU said it was considering new proposals which would allow visitors from anywhere if they could prove they had been fully vaccinated against Covid, or were travelling from countries where cases of the disease were low.

People arriving from the UK, Russia and a number of other countries would meet the new criteria, but the change has not yet been made.

Portugal-bound Brits – if they are let in – will still have to take a Covid test before they land back in the UK on their return, and another test two days later.

Holiday company Tui recently launched its own cheap Covid test package with prices starting at just £20 to encourage people to book holidays.

Brits are still banned from travelling to many popular destinations, with Turkey and the Maldives being added to the red banned list last week.

Currently, holidaymakers will be able to travel to the likes of Gibraltar, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and the Falklands.

Australia and New Zealand are also on the green list, but their borders are still closed to tourists.

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