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Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 22 April, 2021

Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 22 April, 2021
22 April 2021 Zac van Manen

 Accurate as of: 22 April 2021

Current UK status

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  • As of 4pm on 21 April 2021, a total of 142,527,783 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests have been conducted in the UK. 4,395,703 people have tested positive.
  • 33,139,742 people have had their first dose of the vaccination, while 10,775,817 have been fully vaccinated.
  • 150,841 patients in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
  • Guidance for the current lockdown rules in England can be found

UK travel restrictions:

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  • Boris Johnson has laid out a roadmap out of lockdown, with key touchstones to further open up the country on 17 May and 21 June.
  • Currently, UK residents can only travel internationally 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.
  • 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.
  • A travel “green list” is expected to be announced by the government in early May.

Latest updates:

  • Greek, Spanish and Portuguese islands could be opened up early for summer holidays as part of the Government’s “traffic light” plans for resuming international travel, Grant Shapps has indicated. The Transport Secretary said islands with lower Covid rates than the mainland could be granted “green list” status for holidaymakers to travel to them without facing quarantine on their return. (Telegraph)
  • The US has added the UK back to its highest level of travel restrictions: Level Four – Do Not Travel (Independent)
  • Up to 30 countries including Spain’s Canary Islands, Portugal’s Azores and Malta could make the UK’s green list for summer holidays from May 17. The 30 destinations, which are dominated by islands, have high vaccination rates and low prevalence of Covid putting them in a strong position for inclusion on the “green list.” (Telegraph)
  • Travel expert Paul Charles (ex-Communications Director for Virgin) has published his latest blog on his predictions on when the traffic light system will be further clarified. He imagines the government will announce how each international destination will be classified on 6th or 7th May. (Paul Charles)
  • Domestic operators have reported a return to pre-pandemic sales levels for UK holidays amid a lack of clarity on overseas travel and strong agent support. In some cases, domestic sales have surpassed 2019, with many operators adding capacity as holidays sell out. (Travel Weekly)
  • RyanAir predicts a sudden recovery of summer travel. Ryanair’s boss is “really optimistic” about the European summer season predicting that consumers are “going to demand to travel” as vaccination rates rise in the coming months. (TTG)
  • France has become the first European Union member state to begin trials of a digital coronavirus travel certificate. The Guardian reports the tests are part of a Europe-wide scheme that Brussels hopes will allow people to travel more freely within the bloc by the summer. (Travel Weekly)
  • Spain’s tourism minister has said the country is “ready” to open this summer and “desperate” to welcome back British visitors this summer and is in “constant conversation” with UK authorities to make it happen. He hopes that increased vaccines could help secure their spot on the green list. (TTG)
  • Winter 2021-22 winter capacity is being expanded by Jet2 just weeks after putting flights on sale to seven top ski destinations. More flights to Grenoble, Geneva, Salzburg, Innsbruck and Chambery have been added for February school half-term, as well as extending the ski seasons to some destinations. (Travel Weekly)
  • The owner of the Manchester and Stansted airports has urged the UK government to introduce a fourth “restriction-free” category to its new “traffic lights” system. MAG, which also operates East Midlands airport, said a fourth category alongside the planned green, amber, and red regimes would “aid recovery” and “capitalise” on the success of the UK’s Covid-19 vaccination programme. (TTG)

Social media:

  • After a preview at their recent Analyst Day, Twitter is launching a live test of its new Professional Profiles. It’s a step to bring businesses, NFPs, publishers, and creators to a Twitter experience that’s a bit closer to a Facebook Page than the formerly rigid Twitter profile experience. The test is exclusive to businesses in the US for now but they’ll roll out over the next few months more broadly.
  • As they overhaul their Business Suite — with Analytics disappearing soon — Facebook is enabling Facebook and Instagram Story scheduling. You will still have to compose them through an app on your phone rather than on desktop but it’s a nice step forward for brands looking to dedicate more Story resource as Instagram chief Adam Mosseri goes to bat saying he hates the practice of sharing Feed posts to Stories.
  • Instagram is also rolling out new options to protect users from abusive messages. The UK has struggled recently with racism directed right to prominent football players’ inboxes, away from the places that Instagram has historically looked for abuse with automated systems and these new filtering tools mean you won’t even see messages that are flagged by using a series of terms the app considers to be abuse. You also add a custom list of words, phrases, or emojis you don’t want to see in your DMs.
  • As part of Pinterest’s ongoing commitment to broadening its eCommerce potential, it’s expanding its Shopify integration to stores based in Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK. This integration lets businesses upload product catalogues, publish Pins for items on sale, track product performance on Pinterest, and launch Pinterest ad campaigns all from the Shopify dashboard.
  • This one speaks for itself — Twitter’s now letting users upload images in 4K. You do have to be using a mobile device, either Android or iOS, and you do have to turn the ‘High-quality image uploads’ setting on but now your Twitter feed can be even more beautiful than your Instagram.
  • We’ve been writing about the new iOS’s assumed incoming effects on social and ecommerce advertising for a little while but it’s all about to become reality not just theory as iOS 14.5 launches next week. Forget almost everything you’ve learned about conversion targeting, using pixel data, and third-party tracking. To be clear: no one knows exactly what happens next. We’re all going to find out together.
  • Audio app sensation Clubhouse continues to fend off a series of new competitors as it raises a Series C round of finance lead by a16z that values them at $4 billion. This money will help them continue to grow their engineering teams, launch the Android version, and likely pour more cash into creator deals as other platforms roll out audio spaces of their own.
  • Speaking of — Reddit has announced the Reddit Talk audio tool. Imagine Clubhouse inside subreddits. 2020 and 2021 have, so far, been a strange year for incumbents moving faster than the plucky upstarts that have traditionally had the speed advantage — think Fast Shopify’s Shop Pay for another example. Clubhouse’s exclusivity was its major drawcard but as March downloads plummeted from February highs, perhaps the conclusion is that social feature is a better feature than a standalone product. Still, we reserve the right to be wrong about that. But if we are and you want to say you told us so, do it at the local coffee place over a long black not over the phone.
  • Does former President Donald J. Trump deserve to return to Facebook? After the social network banned him on the day after the Capitol riot, Facebook has upheld the ban themselves ever since. They’ve even removed videos of the former President posted by friends and family attempting to circumvent the ban. And now the Oversight Board is deliberating on his return in a move that might ripple out and make other networks reconsider. Twitter’s unlikely to change their mind and Parler is set to return to the App Store so they might find that Trump overstepped Facebook’s remit and has at his disposal other options to air his (many and myriad) grievances so he doesn’t need a Page again. We’ll see.
  • And MI5 has just joined Instagram to bust the James Bond, martini-drinking stereotypes that apparently plague the secret service agency. The account, @mi5official, will host Q&As with serving intelligence officers to clarify what MI5 actually does and to help promote career opportunities. In the words of MI5’s boss, Ken McCallum: “You can insert your own joke about whether [they’ll] be following you.

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