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UK Media & Consumer Market Update — July 1, 2020

UK Media & Consumer Market Update — July 1, 2020
1 July 2020 Zac van Manen

Accurate as of: 1 July 2020

Current UK status:

Visit for all official information.

  • As of 9am on 29 June 2020, a total of 9,290,215 people have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19), of which 311,965 were confirmed positive.
  • 43,575 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 2.6 million cases), followed by Brazil (1.3 million cases) and Russia (647,000 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.
  • It is expected the Government will announce the first set of ‘air bridge’ countries later this week.

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).
  • It is expected that the UK Government will announce ‘air bridges’ later this week, with France, Spain, Italy and Germany expected to be on the list (Express).
  • The EU has announced 14 countries whose citizens can be let into EU nations from 1 July, but the US, China and Brazil have been left off the list (Telegraph).
  • The Greek government has confirmed it will not allow direct flights from the UK until 15 July (Travel Weekly).
  • Ireland will maintain a 14-day quarantine for travellers from the British mainland in July even as it plans to ease travel restrictions with some countries, it has been reported (Reuters).
  • Simon Calder has written a guide to overseas summer holidays in 2020, with his insights about where to go and when, insurance, and quarantine rules (Independent).
  • Similarly, The Guardian have produced a consumer feature about the latest summer holiday rules and regulations (The Guardian).
  • Media are still seeking destination/product news and openings, health & safety measure updates, data/trend stories and travel story ideas. Staycation content remains popular.
  • 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 most publications putting a large percentage of their staff on furlough, and some beginning to make redundancies.

Consumer/market commentary:

  • Reports suggesting an ‘explosion’ in travel bookings with the announcement of a relaxation of UK quarantine restrictions need to be taken with “a pinch of salt”, says Dnata Travel Group chief executive John Bevan (Travel Weekly).
  • More than half of Brits (51%) are only willing to book a UK holiday post lockdown; one in five (21%) are prepared to travel into Europe but just one in ten (12%) are willing to consider travel further away; while more than half (54%) want to explore the UK this summer, seeing the crisis as the best reason to discover new parts of the UK – survey by Accor (Travel Weekly).
  • Some travel agents have stopped selling summer holidays for July and August due to the lack of clarity over the Government’s air bridge plans (Telegraph).
  • Some travel companies are seeing record bookings: The Advantage Travel Partnership said it had seen a 30% increase in bookings week on week up to 29 June; Travel Counsellors, which has more than 600 homeworking agents in its group, reported an 89% rise in bookings over the weekend against the previous Saturday and Sunday; and Teletext Holidays reported a 158% increase in bookings across the same 48-hour period, when compared to the previous week (Travel Weekly).
  • Britain’s economy contracted by 2.2% in the first three months of 2020 – its sharpest decline in more than 40 years – as the immediate impact from the pandemic provided an even more severe hit to output than first thought (Guardian).
  • Britain’s finance ministry said on Tuesday it had spent more than £25 billion on a furlough programme that is supporting 9.3 million jobs. In a weekly update, the Treasury said claims under its Job Retention Scheme – which pays 80% of salary costs for furloughed staff – had risen to £25.5 billion as of 28 June from £22.9 billion the week before (Reuters).
  • The UK Government announced plans to soften the economic impact of COVID-19 with a promise to “build build build”, as part of a “new deal” that includes plans to accelerate £5bn on infrastructure projects (BBC).
  • The number of new home loans approved in Britain has fallen by 90% since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to the lowest since at least the early 1990s, the Bank of England has said (Guardian).

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