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UK Media & Consumer Market Update — June 17, 2020

UK Media & Consumer Market Update — June 17, 2020
18 June 2020 Zac van Manen

Accurate as of: 17 June 2020

Current UK status:

Visit for all official information.

  • As of 9am on 16 June 2020, a total of 6,981,493 people have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19), of which 298,136 were confirmed positive.
  • 41,969 patients in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
  • The UK is now considered the worst affected country in Europe, exceeding the death toll of Italy and Spain. The US remains the worst affected country in the world (over 2.2 million cases), followed by Brazil (928,000 cases) and Russia (553,000 cases).
  • The current lockdown rules include those who cannot work at home are now encouraged to go to work if they can safely practice social distancing at the same time.
  • People may now enjoy time in groups of up to 6 people in a back garden or public space, as long as they can maintain the 2m social distancing rule.
  • Exercise outdoors is unlimited for those in England. Gyms, tourist attractions, restaurants and the like all remain closed. Driving is permitted and use of public transport is strongly discouraged.
  • Non-essential shops have started to reopen this week, including clothing stores, travel agencies, and even art galleries.
  • Primary schools have started to reopen, while secondary schools will begin to reopen slowly over the next couple of weeks.
  • The ‘out of lockdown’ roadmap is conditional, however if all goes to plan, the earliest that we would see UK domestic tourism kick-starting is in July. International travel is not expected to begin again until July at the earliest and is dependent on FCO advice.

UK travel restrictions:

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  • As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.
  • A 14-day mandatory quarantine for all UK arrivals from 8 June (except from Ireland, Channel Islands, and Isle of Man) continues. It affects anyone arriving by plane, train or ferry.
  • UK travellers are not currently permitted to enter most countries (unless they are citizens of that country), including the US.

Media commentary:

  • It has been reported that it may be months before Brits are permitted to enter the US (Mirror).
  • Norwegian Airlines is planning to re-start UK flights in July (TTG).
  • The air-bridge idea is still unknown, with PM Boris Johnson not giving much away in terms of where or when Brits will be able to travel again (TTG).
  • Camping/staycations are still set to be popular in the UK this summer, but the Government still needs to allow overnights stays before this. An announcement is expected in the coming weeks, but it is expected the ban will lift around 4 July (Mirror).
  • Tourism and travel leaders have expressed disappointment and frustration after it emerged that the UK will not be taking part in an EU-led data-sharing project to reboot tourism as lockdowns lift (Guardian).
  • British Airways has unveiled a drastically reduced food and drinks service, with booze banned for those travelling in short-haul economy (Telegraph).
  • Australia is unlikely to reopen its border to international travellers until next year, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has said (Telegraph).
  • Media are still seeking destination/product news and openings, health & safety measure updates, data/trend stories and travel story ideas. However, health & safety measure stories need to have something innovative and use new technology to be newsworthy.
  • Any survey stories need to be of a decent sample size (2,500 plus) and robust.
  • As the travel media teams are smaller now, journalists want to speak with MDs and CEOs directly for interviews and would prefer not to send questions over to PRs in advance; time is of the essence right now.
  • We are seeing a lot of media requests for UK travel and staycations, but increased interest in international travel to nearby European destinations that the UK may have an air bridge with. Broadsheet media are being cautious about this content however, as the Government hasn’t yet provided solid advice around when international travel may begin again.
  • Travel content relating to flight-free travel, natural landscapes, the outdoors, escapism, and getting active is increasingly sought, as following global lockdowns people believe that holidays incorporating the great outdoors will be popular.
  • Travel teams are still very small, with post publications putting a large percentage of their staff on furlough. Media feedback has been quite minimal, likely because those who are still working have an increased workload.
  • The Black Lives Matter Movement is high on the news agenda alongside COVID-19, with worldwide protests taking place and campaigns against violence and systemic racism continuing.

Consumer/market commentary:

  • Spain, Italy and Greece top the list of post-lockdown holiday destinations, according to a survey by (Travel Weekly).
  • Travel agents have enjoyed a “positive” first day back on the high street for the first time since the UK lockdown was imposed (Travel Weekly).
  • Kuoni says that 2021 bookings are on the up, with the Maldives the top booking destination, followed by Mauritius, Thailand, Spain and India. (TTG).
  • Almost two out of three UK adults (64%) who travelled abroad last year expect to travel for leisure the same as or more than before when restrictions are lifted, compared with 58% across other source markets in Europe and 56% across major markets worldwide. Germans showed a slightly higher response at 66% (Travel Weekly).
  • The pandemic is heralding a “permanent” shift in consumer spending, with increases in debit card and domestic transactions here to stay, according to Visa’s European chief executive (FT).
  • A record fall in fuel prices, including petrol, pushed the UK’s inflation rate down to 0.5% in May, the second full month of the coronavirus lockdown (BBC).
  • The British economy will shrink by 8% this year and is unlikely to recover from the damage wrought by the coronavirus crisis until 2023, according to a leading economic forecaster (Guardian).
  • A new report has suggested the Chancellor Rishi Sunak could stump up £15billion for a “recovery fund” for ailing British businesses (Express).

Social media:

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