The Regional Government, through the Regional Secretariat for Tourism and Culture, remains committed to helping Ukrainian and Russian tourists who remain in the Region. Situations are always being monitored in line with the operators and their respective DMC (Destination Management Company) in Madeira, as well as with the Regional Directorate for Communities and External Cooperation and the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF).
Although the situations are different, the Regional Government is attentive to the needs of the two groups of tourists. The regional secretary, Eduardo Jesus adds that “for any of the communities, the process goes through the SEF”, and explains: “in the case of Ukrainians who want to remain in Madeira, for requests for subsidiary protection and, for Russians, for extension of the visas that are necessary for them to travel back to their country of origin”.
The official says that many of the visas required for the trip are coming to an end, but informs that the SEF is prepared to extend them so that they can be used on the return trip.
As for this trip, there are several solutions on the table, one of which is currently being analyzed. It is an operation that involves triangulation by other countries through which the connection to Russia can still be made “and in this way create the possibility of the return of these around 200 tourists”. By the end of the day, the Regional Government hopes to have some more concrete information on this situation.
For now, there is still no response from the Russian Embassy in Lisbon. The regional secretary for Tourism and Cultural underlines that “at this moment, Ukrainian citizens and Russian citizens are protected in Madeira by the Regional Government, which has contracted accommodation for the two groups. In this regime, we have 70 Ukrainian tourists and 188 Russians”, explains Eduardo Jesus, adding that “the situation must evolve in a logic of social support” through Social Security and the mechanisms that are activated for this purpose. In this sense, Social Security, through the Regional Secretariat for Social Inclusion and Citizenship, has already been involved in the process so that there is continuity of protection for these people and better coordination of all stakeholders is carried out.
For this reason, he says, “the Regional Government is properly coordinated and maintains a team in which people from the various ‘attack fronts’ participate. What is possible to achieve today, will dictate the type of decision we have to make in the coming days”.
Above all, the Regional Government’s objective remains to obtain, as quickly as possible, solutions for these citizens, not only for those who need to be welcomed locally, but also for those who want to return to their homes.
“The strong dependence on third parties, namely in terms of international transport and the limitations posed by the existing restrictions, puts us in a very demanding performance stage”, adds the minister.