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UK Media & Consumer Market Update — June 24, 2020

UK Media & Consumer Market Update — June 24, 2020
24 June 2020 Zac van Manen

Accurate as of: 24 June 2020

Current UK status:

Visit for all official information.

  • As of 9am on 23 June 2020, a total of 8,309,929 people have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19), of which 306,210 were confirmed positive.
  • 42,927 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 2.4 million cases), followed by Brazil (1.1 million cases) and Russia (606,000 cases).
  • The lockdown is beginning to ease, with the recent announcement that restaurants, pubs, and outdoor leisure centres are permitted to open from 4 July, provided they comply with safety and social distancing measures. Overnight stays are also now permitted, and hotels and campsites can open from 4 July. Full new lockdown rules can be viewed here.
  • The 2m social distancing rule has been reduced to 1m+.
  • 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:

  • From 4 July, people will be free to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation including B&Bs, hotels, self-catering properties and campsites – so long as shared facilities can be kept clean. Note that the rules below only apply to England; guidance for the rest of the UK will be issued by their own governments (Telegraph).
  • The first wave of air bridges will likely be announced later this week, with flights to resume to those destinations from 4 July (Telegraph).
  • European Union countries could block visitors from the US due to America’s failure to effectively tackle the coronavirus outbreak. Brussels has drawn up two draft lists of acceptable travellers ahead of its July 1 border reopening, according to The New York Times. America is not named on either list (Telegraph).
  • The Irish Government has been advised to lift the 14-day quarantine for people arriving into Ireland by next Wednesday by The Aviation Recovery Taskforce (Irish Examiner).
  • The Maldives is set to open its borders to international visitors on 15 July (TTG).
  • Spain has created a Responsible Tourism seal for hotels, restaurants and other businesses, designed to show they are taking measures to supress further COVID-19 infection (TTG).
  • 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.
  • 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 remains high on the news agenda alongside COVID-19, with worldwide protests taking place and campaigns against violence and systemic racism continuing.

Consumer/market commentary:

  • UK tourism organisations are seeing a huge spike in UK bookings since the new lockdown measures were announced. Hoseasons and sister brand recorded their best days ever for online sales on Tuesday; Hoseasons sales ended 270% up year-on-year, while recorded a 455% spike in bookings (TTG).
  • Travel agents and tour operators are reporting a marked increase in demand for domestic breaks as the UK holiday industry prepares to reopen. Travel Counsellors said more than half of its enquiries in the last week had been for UK breaks, while 70% of new bookings were sourced from personalised marketing content created in partnership with UK suppliers (Travel Weekly).
  • Over half of consumers expect to take fewer trips abroad, switching to a domestic break instead over the next 12 months, according to a new survey from Cumbria Tourism. The new research, which was sponsored by The Cumberland Building Society, found that over the next year, around 50% of those questioned said they expect to take more day trips and overnight stays in the UK than usual, opting for a break on home soil rather than travelling overseas (Boutique Hotelier).
  • As part of an exclusive survey carried out among the TTG Luxury community, two-thirds of all new enquiries made with luxury agents were said to have been for Europe (63%), with the Caribbean also proving popular among 36% of agents, and the Indian Ocean another key choice, with 33% of consultants saying they had had enquiries for the region (TTG).
  • UK consumer confidence has increased by six points in June, according to GfK’s latest Consumer Confidence Index, but it is still firmly in negative territory, at -30 (Research Live).
  • UK households paid off a record number of credit card and loan debts during lockdown earlier this year, reducing overall debt by £7.4bn (Accountancy Age).
  • The UK’s financial watchdog has extended emergency measures to allow consumers struggling financially because of the coronavirus outbreak to freeze loan and credit card payments until 31 October. The measures, which were announced by the Financial Conduct Authority in April for an initial period of three months, also include overdrafts, store cards and catalogue credit (Guardian).

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