Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 12 February, 2021
Accurate as of: 12 February 2021
Current UK status:
Visit https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ for all official information.
- As of 4pm on 9 February 2021, a total of 75,693,515 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests have been conducted in the UK. 3,972,148 people have tested positive.
- 12,646,486 people have had their first dose of the vaccination, while 516,392 have been fully vaccinated.
- 113,850 patients in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
- As of 5 January, the whole UK has re-entered national lockdown, with guidance to be given on 22 February as to when restrictions will be eased.
- Guidance for the current lockdown rules in England can be found
UK travel restrictions:
Visit www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office for all official information.
- UK residents can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where they first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, they should consider the public health advice in the country they are visiting.
- UK residents cannot leave their home or the place where they are living for holidays or overnight stays unless they have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.
- In order to enter the UK, a negative Covid-19 test must be completed 72 hours before travel and presented to staff on planes, trains and ferries in order to board. A further two tests must be completed at the travellers’ expense during their quarantine before they can return to day-to-day life.
- People entering the UK from high-risk countries, or “red” countries, will have to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense for 10 days.
- All arrivals into England will, from 15 February, have to test negative for Covid three times before they can return to day-to-day life. They will have to book their stay in advance of travel, which will cost £1,750pp covering the cost of a 10-day hotel stay, transport and testing. (TTG)
- A maximum 10-year jail term for lying about recent travel history has been defended by the government. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the British public “would expect pretty strong action” and the maximum sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime. (BBC)
- Mr Shapps has also said other countries will need to catch up with the UK’s vaccination programme before the government can start to “unlock” international travel. He also said that people should not be booking holidays right now, domestically or internationally. (TTG)
- In contrast, travel company Tui has said it expects to run 80% of its normal capacity for this summer, with 2.8 million customers already booked for its holidays. The statement follows optimism from other travel firms that the industry is set for recovery as coronavirus vaccination programmes advance. (BBC)
- Despite their optimism, Tui posted a heavy loss in the first quarter of its financial year after sales plunged 88pc due to pandemic-related travel curbs. The world’s biggest travel company posted a €699m (£614m) loss in the three months to December, compared to a €147m loss during the same period last year. Revenues plummeted 88pc from €3.85bn to €468m. (Telegraph)
- com and Jet2holidays have extended their flight and holiday cancellations through to mid-April. All flights and holidays due to depart up to and on 14 April are off, the airline and operator confirmed on 9 February. (TTG)
- Visit Florida is reporting an uptick in the number of bookings for multigenerational families to the US state as it continues to market holiday spots outside city hubs. Speaking at virtual Florida Huddle, the state’s annual travel trade show, president and chief executive Dana Young said: “We’re seeing more multigenerational trips being booked. (Travel Weekly)
- Britons could return for summer holidays in Greece from May using a ‘quarantine passport’ if reports today prove accurate. The tourism-reliant country is reportedly prepared to waive quarantine rules for tourists who can prove that they have been inoculated against Covid-19. British tourists could be welcomed to Greece in May, provided they can provide proof of inoculation against the virus. (Travel Weekly)
- Airline pilots have backed the concept of a ‘vaccine passport’ after the government was reported to be working on the option to enable summer holidays to Greece. The British Airline Pilots Association believes the UK’s apparent vaccine success could rescue this year’s holiday season and allow people to get away. (Travel Weekly)
- In an effort to salve the political disunity in its user base, Facebook is looking to reduce the amount of political content in the News Feed. Mark Zuckerberg announced the move during a recent earnings call and it will begin taking effect for a small percentage of people in Canada, Brazil, and Indonesia this week before rolling out to the US in the coming weeks. Information about COVID-19 from authoritative sources, like local health organisations, will be exempt.
- And The Social Network is looking to build its own version of new audio platform Clubhouse, just six days after Zuckerberg joined the platform and dove into a room to chat with a few hundred strangers. It’s no surprise that Facebook — as a company, not a platform — is keen to ape its competitors’ features so keep an eye out for what it eventually becomes.
- As expected, the forced TikTok sale to Oracle and Walmart is dead in the water as President Biden undertakes his own review of the Chinese security threat to the American people. On the flip side, also as expected, Clubhouse has been banned in the People’s Republic.
- Instagram is cracking down on abuse and hate speech through direct messages. Recent racist attacks on UK footballers has prompted the new move which will see bans handed out for abusive private messages — a domain the app’s not previously monitored.
- Related, Instagram has updated the algorithm to punish Reels with the TikTok logo in them. They advised users to ‘share original & authentic content created with the Reels camera’ a few weeks ago and earlier this week doubled down saying that users should not posting a Reel that, ‘is visibly recycled from other apps.’
- Over in the finance part of social (let’s not forget they are businesses, after all), Twitter posted record revenue for Q4 2020, totalling $1.29 billion — just over half of which comes from the US alone. It’s also grown its unique Monetizable Daily Active Users by 5 million from Q3, up 40 million on Q4 2019.
- Similarly, Snapchat has posted a 62% increase in revenue as well as the addition of 16 million more users in Q4. As such, it’s reached a new high of 265 million daily active users, mostly from the Rest of World audience (that is, not North America or Europe, where there is still growth though must more modest). Its growing popularity in India seems to be driving much of this growth.
- And Pinterest has also risen to 459 million users globally with a strong revenue result of $706 million for Q4, an increase of 76% on Q4 ’19. Their US growth remains steady at 11% but if they’re looking to scale further in the future they’ll need the support of international advertisers to push the average revenue per user figure higher outside of the 52 states.
- With ecommerce largely responsible for the above growth across social, Shopify is expanding its Shop Pay one-click payment process to Facebook and Instagram Shops that are selling through Shopify. For the unfamiliar, Shop Pay pre-populates customers’ details and helps get them through checkout lightning fast. Now, that’s available when you’re shopping even in-app.