VTE no longer does utmp logging. This was an upstream change made almost
three years ago at https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=747046,
and is clearly not going to get reverted by upstream.
Actually, most other VTE-based emulators (e.g. xfce4-terminal) are also
affected in newer Ubuntu releases, while a few VTE-based emulators
(can't recall which ones, sorry) added back utmp logging of their own.
Some other terminal emulators, such as terminology and st (Ubuntu
package: stterm) don't do utmp logging either.
Two possible command line solution are mentioned in comments 34 & 35 of
the aforementioned link. They could be set up as "Custom command" in
gnome-terminal, and are clearly more lightweight than ssh.
Ubuntu should ship such a command line tool if it thinks that utmp
logging is important, which was argued against in the VTE bug.
** Bug watch added: GNOME Bug Tracker #747046
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who or w command produces no tty information about terminal
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