Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 19 May, 2021
Accurate as of: 19 May 2021
UK Media & Consumer Market Update
Visit https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ for all official information.
- As of 4pm on 19 May 2021, a total of 168,404,482 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests have been conducted in the UK. 4,452,527 people have tested positive.
- 36,985,505 people have had their first dose of the vaccination, while 20,870,453 have been fully vaccinated.
- 151,904 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:
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 further open up the country on 17 May and 21 June.
- 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. Depending on whether a traveller comes from a “green” or “amber” list, determines the rules they need to comply with upon return.
- 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 rules for travellers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/travel-abroad
- The US Travel Association has reiterated its call for the US to reopen its borders following the announcement that the European Union ease entry restrictions this summer. Roger Dow, USTA president and chief executive, said: “The European Union’s risk-based, science-driven plan to reopen international travel will hopefully spur the US to heed the many calls for a plan and timetable to safely reopen our borders.” (Travel Weekly)
- Matt Hancock has said that the final decision on the unlocking of the UK will be made on 14 June. The presence of the Indian variant is a cause for concern, with a 28% increase in cases since Monday, but research claims that the vaccines are still effective against this variant. (Telegraph)
- EU ambassadors have backed proposals to reopen borders for non-essential travel from countries with low infection rates, with a list to be agreed this week. Diplomats in Brussels said visitors should be allowed to come from countries with an incidence rate of below 75 cases per 100,000 people. Under those terms UK travellers would be eligible, but there are concerns about the Indian Covid-19 variant. (BBC)
- Sources close to the EU have confirmed that the bloc is having second thoughts over whether to lift an EU travel ban on British tourists this week because of the spread of the Indian variant. Diplomatic sources said that a decision on whether to include Britain could now be delayed until next week. (Telegraph)
- The number of UK travel and tourism jobs lost if international travel is not reopened could top 500,000, the World Travel & Tourism Council has warned. (TTG)
- Government ministers have spread even more confusion over whether travel to an amber destination is allowed or strictly off limits. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “It’s very important for people to grasp what an amber country is. It is not somewhere where you should be going on holiday,” in contradiction to FCDO advice that confirms travel to an amber list country is possible. (Travel Gossip)
- After months of speculation about which London airport would host flights to New York on JetBlue, the airline has finally revealed it will depart from both Heathrow and Gatwick. (Independent)
- Consumers could be given new rights when booking holidays as part of a shake-up of the current system by the government. The Department for Transport (DFT) is set to carry out a consultation into possible changes to consumer protection around holidays later this year in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. (TTG)
- Ryanair has forecast “a strong recovery” this summer, with group chief executive Michael O’Leary predicting Greece and Spain will be added to the UK green list of destinations without quarantine restrictions from June. (Travel Weekly)
- Iceland’s newest airline PLAY has officially launched its ticket sales for seven destinations across Europe. Its inaugural flight will be London Stansted on 24 June. (Simple Flying)
- While Pinterest is keeping its Story Pins format, it’s renaming them Idea Pins with a more Pinterest-friendly style. All Pinners in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland will see Idea Pins from creators they follow at the top of their home feed. Pinterest has also added a new Creator Code, moderation features, and a content claiming portal so creators can flag assets they own.
- Love infomercials? Then Facebook’s new Live Shopping Fridays will soothe that itch. Starting this Friday and running every Friday until July 16, beauty and fashion brands will present their products, answer questions, and streamline purchases straight through the Shops checkout on Facebook. An interesting foray for sure but let’s not forget that the Internet is going through a phase of relearning what old industries, like television, have known for a long time. Think Netflix, Paramount+, HBO Max, Disney+, etc. as the early foray into cable TV. Read Stratechery’s The Great Unbundling for even more insight.
- Facebook is also keen to get more companies to use the Oversight Board. The content moderation experiment could provide opportunity for other platforms to mediate certain content policies — like banning Trump, most clearly — but Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit aren’t interested right now. Engadget highlights ratings boards like the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) system as a similar organisation. As above — old lessons on new platforms.
- Instagram has announced a new ‘Creator Week’ from June 8th to June 10th. Designed to provide professional development for aspiring and emerging creators, Creator Week will aim to help them grow their profiles on Facebook and Instagram.
- Google continues to lean into ecommerce with new developments from its I/O conference. The key takeaway from ecommerce businesses is an expanded partnership with Shopify. Shopify merchants will connect to Google’s new Shopping Graph which aims to enhance discovery across Google’s products. They’re also rolling out product description via image searches — like Pinterest.
- Instagram is — finally — testing upload options on desktop. We’ve extolled the virtues of desktop Instagram a few times, even though you can’t use Story stickers. While there is a workaround by just shrinking a desktop window to mobile size, it’s not quite the same. Creator Studio works, sure, but if you’re spending a lot of time on desktop Instagram as it is it’ll be easier to manage everything in one place. It’s currently testing internally but keep an eye out for a rollout.
- As iOS14.5 uptake remains low, Twitter is taking Facebook’s lead in encouraging users to opt into data tracking. Basically, Twitter’s reminding users that ads are what keeps Twitter free for end users and the alternative is not that you see fewer ads but that you see untargeted, unpersonalised ads.
- Jane Manchun Wong continues to discover app secrets — like Twitter Blue, a new subscription version of Twitter for the low price of $2.99 per month. Jane suggests the app is working on a tiered subscription pricing model with all sorts of paid features like undoing tweets, bookmark collections, and clutter-free news reading through Twitter’s recent acquisition of Scroll.
- YouTube is expanding Creator Studio’s functionality with new upload defaults, upload templates, and upload settings cloning across videos. You’ll also be able to upload videos straight from Google Drive to save time — given that the videos are already on Google’s servers.