Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 18 March, 2021
Accurate as of: 17 March 2021
Current UK status:
Visit https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ for all official information.
- As of 4pm on 17 March 2021, a total of 104,422,879 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests have been conducted in the UK. 4,274,579 people have tested positive.
- 25,273,226 people have had their first dose of the vaccination, while 1,759,445 have been fully vaccinated.
- 125,831 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 schools reopening on 8 March
- 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.
- Boris Johnson has laid out a roadmap out of lockdown, with key touchstones to open up the country on 8 March, 29 March, 12 April, 17 May and 21 June.
- Currently, 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.
- The European Commission has proposed the introduction of Covid passports to allow 450 million Europeans to travel freely by summer. The so-called Digital Green Certificates, which should be free of charge, will be delivered to EU residents who can prove they have been vaccinated, but also to those who have tested negative for the virus or have proof they have recovered from it. “Being vaccinated will not be a precondition to travel,” the commission said. “All EU citizens have a fundamental right to free movement in the EU and this applies regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not. The Digital Green Certificate will make it easier to exercise that right, also through testing and recovery certificates.” (Telegraph)
- International leisure travel from Scotland is unlikely to restart from 17 May, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has told Holyrood. Sturgeon said it was the Scottish government’s view that the 17 May “at the very earliest” date for a resumption of international travel, set out last month by Boris Johnson in his Covid roadmap, “would not be achievable”. The First Minister said “We are certain this will not be achievable before 17 May. However, our view is that it may well not be possible for a further period after that.” (TTG)
- Portugal and Mauritius are to be removed from the government’s so-called “red list” of countries from which travel is effectively banned to guard against the import of new Covid-19 variants of concern. From 19 March, arrivals into England from Portugal and Mauritius will no longer have to self-isolate in government-appointed hotel quarantine for 10 days. (TTG)
- Qatar, Ethiopia, Oman and Somalia will be added to the government’s travel ban list from 4am on Friday (19 March), the Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed. (TTG)
- The long-haul market is likely to be “patchy” in terms of allowing travel post-Covid, but the Caribbean could be among the first to return, according to Tui UK boss Andrew Flintham. “I think it’s possible,” he said, “the Caribbean potentially will be fairly forward I would imagine in coming back on that list, which is obviously very important to us.” Speaking at the Travel Weekly Future of Travel spring forum, Flintham said Tui had operated long-haul flights in December to Cuba and St Lucia, proving “long-haul can work” during the pandemic. (Travel Weekly) (Travel Weekly)
- Customer confidence in travelling overseas this summer has returned strongly, according to Jet2 and Jet2holidays. “Our regular polling of thousands of customers shows that confidence has risen across all age groups. The number of customers booking flights and package holidays tells us that many people want nothing more than to get away this summer,” chief executive Steve Heapy said.
- Mallorca is preparing to welcome an influx of tourists over Easter – although British visitors won’t be among them. The biggest Balearic Island is gearing up to open its doors to hundreds of visitors after Germany lifted its travel warning for the Spanish archipelago, as well as the Valencia and Murcia regions on the mainland. “This is a significant indicator of the confidence in Mallorca as a holiday destination and strengthens our positivity for a summer bounce back and a much-needed tourism boost,” said manager of Palma Tourist Board, Pedro Homar. (Independent)
- P&O Cruises will launch a series of ‘Voyages to Nowhere’ in the UK this summer. The trips will last three to four nights, with no ports of call. Instead, the captain will set course for sunny weather. P&O Cruises says only people who have received both Covid-19 jabs, and waited a further week, will be allowed onboard the first voyages the company plans to operate since April last year. (Independent)
- More than 5,000 jobs in aviation and related industries are being lost every month, new research commissioned by the Unite union has revealed. According to the data, the total runs to just shy of 62,000 to date – twice as many as have been lost across equivalent sectors in France and Germany. (TTG)
- The Caribbean island of Nevis has pledged to reopen to British tourists from 21 May and is promising a wider range of health and wellness experiences when it does. A new #JustBeNevis campaign will aim to encourage visitors to embrace the Nevis way of life through a range of activities set against the island’s natural landscapes. (TTG)
- To further protect their users in a broader push for online safety, Instagram is now preventing adults from messaging users under 18 who don’t follow them. It won’t necessarily stop things like the James Franco saga a few years ago but it is a step in the right direction.
- Instagram’s also launching their Instagram Lite app again in 170 countries. The Lite version is only 2MB rather than 30MB for the full-size app with most of the same features except for AR filters. The app’s designed to cater to the developing world where data and storage is more finite. As a parent company, Facebook has been focused on expanding into emerging markets over the last ten years as it looks to capture the 37% of people not online in the rest of the world vs. the 10% offline in North America.
- After we mentioned last week that Twitter is looking at new brand profile options to better incentivise monetisation, Matt Navarra has scooped more info on exactly what these profiles would look like. You’ll be able to choose from possible app links, directions buttons, shop previews, image galleries, pinned tweet showcases, and even customer reviews.
- Among other tests on the microblogging platform, they’re also testing new image displays for single image tweets that are closer to Instagram than their current image crops. Alongside, Twitter’s also experimenting with ways for users to upload and receive 4K images on mobile. Those with access to 4K will be able to turn ‘high-quality images’ options on and off for cellular data so that UHD pics don’t drain their allowances.
- As it reaches its first anniversary, Clubhouse remains invite-only and iOS-only but it’s about to crack 13 million downloads. Not bad for such an exclusive platform. Of course, it’s largely replaced the pub chat to which we’re so desperate to return so it will be interesting to see how it holds up to a reopened world — and to the competition of Twitter Spaces. As part of these anniversary celebrations, it’s launching a new Creator Accelerator Program to help support 20 frequent broadcasters with cash, equipment, and expertise.
- Related, Twitter’s planning to launch Spaces to all users next month. Whether that dethrones Clubhouse is yet to be seen — Spaces could well devolve the way that many a viral tweet does — but Twitter does have nearly 100 times the users Clubhouse does. Twitter’s also testing a tip jar function that lets you pay creators for their time through Bandcamp, Cash App, Patreon, and Venmo.
- After Snapchat last week partnered with a media company to sell ad space, Reddit is doing the same but with a much bigger org — Omnicom Media Group. Like TikTok’s partnership with WPP, Omnicom clients will benefit from better creative, education, and training support from Reddit to help advertise to the platform’s 100,000 communities. Reddit boasts 52 million daily active users and we’ve found it useful organically but we’ve not advertised on the platform before so we can’t comment on their advertising effectiveness.
- Like every other platform (and the European Union…) at the moment, Pinterest is fighting COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. To ensure Pinners are given accurate, reliable information about the vaccine, they’re providing free ad space to the AdCouncil for their national COVID-19 “It’s Up To You” campaign as well as support for medical organisations.
- Facebook is expanding monetisation tools for creators, including new ad placements in short videos up to one minute long. It’s not quite the Reels bolster the network’s likely looking for, with Reels still only running to thirty seconds, but it is at least a step in the short-form direction. For reference, creators now need 600,000 total minutes viewed in the last 60 days and 5 or more active video uploads or previously Live videos.
- In this push to expand on-platform monetisation options, Facebook’s also developing their own newsletter creation and distribution tools. Twitter recently acquired Revue for the same purpose but, as Facebook expands its native News platform globally, it’s looking to better support writers to distribute across the platform. A userbase of 2.8 billion people certainly helps and unfortunately Twitter’s 192 million users pales in comparison.
- And, finally, if brand Twitter is your favourite part of the platform (weirdo…) Twitter’s launched a Brand Bracket to narrow down who the best brand on Twitter is. It’s a good exercise in understanding the variety of brand strategies on the platform but don’t get personally involved because you should love yourself instead.