It feels weird to be writing about travel when much of the world is in the grips of the Coronavirus Pandemic. And why this space has remained dormant until now. There is a lot of controversy with influencers in a pandemic traveling at the moment, especially to Dubai, which for many is seen as a holiday destination.
The definition of influencers is: someone who affects or changes the way that other people behave / a person who is paid by a company to show and describe its products and services on social media, encouraging other people to buy them. (Cambridge Dictionary online 2021)
Where is Dubai?
Dubai is one of the United Arab Emeritus (UAE), situated on the Persian Gulf. It borders Abu Dhabi to the south, Sharjah to the northeast, and Oman to the southeast. Around a 7hour flight from the UK. It is 4 hours ahead and is a balmy 21c in January.
Can you travel internationally in a Pandemic?
January 27th 2021
Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not leave home or travel, including internationally unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so.
The lines blur here on what is a legally permitted reason. In England the list can be found here – Government travel advice. But do we see influencer marketing as work? Which it is, I am not questioning that fact here, but does it fall under work, where you cannot reasonably work from home? That’s the question we should be asking.
Influencers that are traveling for work at the moment appear to be flouting the rules, too many it can appear to the outside that it is just one big enjoyable holiday. Out for drinks by the pool and excursions to the desert. All things that the majority of the British public, I included would love to do right now. As it is a dull late January morning as I write this.
Is Travel Morally or Ethically Correct in a Pandemic?
I would love to say yes, travel as long as the country you are going to is accepting British Tourists. But I do not think it is that simple. Currently, of January 2021 you would be breaking English Government guidelines to travel outside of your local area unless for a few exempt reasons. Meaning you should ask very in-depth questions as to why a trip Internationally is on the cards.
Next, you have to take into account your own health and risks, the health and risks of all the other people you may come into contact with. Then the already overwhelmed healthcare systems, not only if you contract covid but if you have an accident you may need treatment in a busy hospital. In this case, it is not just you there is a whole bigger picture. Then to top that off you have to ‘read the room’ so to speak. Being an influencer in a Pandemic is going to be tricky, how is the Public going to perceive your trip? Especially if you’re an influencer. Get the tone wrong and there will be a backlash as seen in recent days.
What’s the answer?
The world has changed, we hope that a global vaccine program will alleviate some of the strain on the world’s health care systems and put a steady halt to a virus that has taken so many lives.
There is, however no easy answer, unfortunately. Influencers in a pandemic at the top of their game can come crashing down unfortunately with one false move. We have seen this in the ‘blogosphere’ within the last year, it can ruin careers. So I urge you to think carefully before accepting that next Press Trip in a Pandemic.