- With more than 80,000 cases of coronavirus reported globally, daily lives and habits have been affected for millions, particularly those who rely on international travel for work.
- Several travel influencers and bloggers told Business Insider that coronavirus has been a much-discussed topic in their industry, with creators raising concerns over upcoming trips — and fans clamoring for travel tips and answers.
- Some brands and companies have canceled upcoming campaigns and trips for influencers, according to creators.
- Stories of passenger quarantines on arriving boats and planes — particularly, in the case of the Diamond Princess cruise ship — have led influencers to question whether embarking on a trip for work is worth it.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
When traveling is how you make your money, growing fears over the proliferating coronavirus outbreak can be a direct threat to your main source of income.
Travel influencers and bloggers have already seen their upcoming plans put in flux as fears over COVID-19, the coronavirus disease, continue to spread internationally. In Facebook groups and group texts, influencers are hungry for answers on whether they should cancel their trips, what they should relay to panicked fans, and if they’ve also experienced brands pulling out of planned campaigns at the last minute.
Cases of the coronavirus have now been reported in nearly 50 countries affecting more than 82,000 people. The resulting fear over contracting the illness has led to a global shortage in face masks, the cancellation of major conferences and events, and even an economic meltdown. At the center of these worries is a growing concern to avoid areas most impacted by coronavirus: not only China, but also Italy, Iran, South Korea, and other countries now considered hotspots.
However, it’s not so simple when international travel is a part of the job description, as it is for travel influencers, bloggers, and photographers. The safeguards implemented by airlines, travel agencies, and brands working with influencers have led many creators’ trips — often planned weeks and months in advance — cancelled or postponed indefinitely.
“A lot of people are in panic mode,” Canadian travel influencer Mel Vandersluis told Business Insider. “Some press trips have went to a halt, some have been cancelled. They obviously don’t want influencers to contract the virus while on the trip.”
Travel photographer Callum Snape told Business Insider that a two-year contract with an Italian luxury brand has been put on hold because buyers are “primarily” in China. One of the year’s biggest conferences on LGBTQ travel and tourism is taking place soon in Italy — a country with 650 reported cases — and is now out of the question for Stefan Arestis and Sebastien Chaneac, a travel-influencer couple who go by the Nomadic Boys.
Increasingly, travel influencers are being forced to weigh the pros and cons of leaving home and embarking journeys to countries with different safety measures, outbreak guidelines, and heightened levels of fear.
Several influencers told Business Insider the fear of contracting coronavirus isn’t enough to stop them from traveling. Many have used their blogs and Instagram presences to assuage fans’ fears and relay tips for safe traveling, as well as dispel extraneous rumors about the disease.
“If you keep listening to the news that’s trying to scare you, you’re not going to go anywhere,” Alyssa Ramos, who runs the blog My Life’s a Travel Movie, told Business Insider. “Followers ask me questions about if they should cancel their plans. I get very angry about it because I want people to travel.”
Some creators are instead choosing not to travel over concerns about being able to return to their home countries without being delayed or stopped because of coronavirus screenings and quarantines.
Stories of weeks-long quarantines for citizens traveling home have already made headlines. Hundreds of US citizens are currently under federal quarantine at an air force base in California. Many of them were passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where more than 700 people had contracted coronavirus by the end of a two-week quarantine on board.
At least five influencers told Business Insider that the fear of a potential quarantine was enough to keep them from leaving home. Becky van Dijk, a United Kingdom resident moving to the U.S. in a few months, has halted all traveling plans for fear the country will soon “close its borders” to certain travelers. Travel influencer Johnny Jet said leaving the U.S. was “just too risky,” in the case he were to be quarantined and kept apart from his two young children at home for weeks on end.
“You tell someone you just came back from Asia, they take a step back. They’re nervous. It’s scary because it’s unknown,” Jet told Business Insider. “I dont want to risk being quarantined. It’s just not worth it.”