These students have created a website to tell you where you can go on holiday this year

They are making a US and EU version too

A group of six university students have established a website called Lockdown, which features over 200 countries and information on lockdown restrictions, so you know exactly where you can go on holiday this year.  

The website includes an interactive, colour coded world map displaying which countries have their borders, airports, bars, restaurants and nightclubs open.

The Tab spoke to two of the creators of the website, Harry Margolis (University of Birmingham) and Tom Marland (University of Bristol). Harry told The Tab, “within the first week we got 14,000 different users.”

Tom, who studies Politics and International Relations at Bristol, said that the group were inspired to make the website after holiday hunting and realising it was difficult to find information about travel restrictions and borders in one place, so they thought “why not try put all this information on a website with every country in the world that everyone can use”.

Many of us have had our summer holidays cancelled this year, with our dreams of a holiday crushed by COVID-19. However, from 6 July UK  holidaymakers could be allowed to travel to some European countries without a 14 day quarantine when they return, as restrictions on non-essential travel are being lifted.

Harry told The Tab how the website was a long time in the making, he said “the original data collection took over three weeks and took six of us to do, and since then we’ve worked as a team to continuously update the data.”

Tom said: “We broke it up into 30-40 countries each, and prioritised Europe at first and then went through all the countries using government websites, foreign offices and embassies.

“For smaller countries we had to use local news outlets to see what was going on in these countries because it was so difficult to find out.”

The group updates the map manually everyday, “One of us takes 30 countries a day, and the rest of us do five a day; the European ones are updated everyday.” Tom said.

They also have a section of the website where people can report inaccuracies and give them updates for the map.

Harry (left) and Mason another student involved with the website

With all different types of maps and statistics out there, Tom told us that the interactive map feature makes their index unique for its usability, “People can see if a country is green, click on it and see whether that place might be worth a try this summer”

The Index also collates all of its information into a  “star rating” for each country. Tom said, “I like the star ratings, it tells you quite easily at a glance how open the country is. If it’s got four and a half stars you know it’s more open than a country only showing three. I think that is quite unique and I like that aspect of it.”

Harry also commented “following our launch on 17 June we used social media to share the website and within the first week got around 14,000 different users. The university have been really helpful, getting me in contact with various media outlets such as the BBC and Daily Mirror as well as providing support where needed.”

Tom then told us: “We are getting funding from York, Leeds and Birmingham unis to help pay for better servers.”

The group are currently not making any money from the website themselves.

Harry also told The Tab about his hopes for the website “we are looking to expand now to create a US and EU version, so the border status would be relevant to them rather than just the UK.”

Tom added that “Once the travel corridors are open we are going to incorporate that into the website too”.

Tom also told us that it has been a challenging, but rewarding process: “learning how to register a limited company and going about developing the website itself has been a very beneficial experience in understanding the world of business and setting up your own company. 

“Now the website is up and running we’ve started to get a bit more traction, and we can hopefully take it to the next level.”

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