“Things are looking a bit bleak at the moment and there are definitely moments of uncertainty.”
Posted on March 11, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. ET
Popular travel influencers say the fears and spread of COVID-19 around the world have affected their daily life and bottom line.
One person reported that their income was cut in half in the past month.
BuzzFeed News heard from a handful of influencers, with followers ranging from a few hundred thousand to millions, who said everything had been put on hold indefinitely. Some aren’t sure what the existence of travel, photo shoots, and branding will mean for a living.
“It has a huge impact on my income,” said Callum Snape, a Vancouver-based travel photographer whose Instagram account has over 818,000 followers. “I haven’t seen any new inquiries in the past six weeks since the outbreak continued to spread.”
Snape said, like many others, that some of his large projects and contracts with other companies have either been postponed or canceled altogether. At the moment there is not much that is new either.
“The virus has changed the industry tremendously,” said Alen Palander, an influencer with over 608,000 followers. “Six of my extensive projects have already been canceled, some of which are currently in question.”
A woman named Melissa Hie, who documents groceries around the world on her blog GirlEatWorld, told BuzzFeed News that she did half of what she usually did in the last month because she restricted her own trips and offered deals paid partnerships have declined.
“”[Things have] That has definitely changed with the fact that I’m not traveling at all at the moment and don’t actively plan any active travel until the virus situation looks better, “said Hie. She is based in Singapore, where the government has taken tough measures to prevent the spread contain COVID-19.
“Things are looking a little bleak right now and there are definitely moments of uncertainty,” she added.
Selena Taylor of @finduslost blog and Instagram account said March is usually one of the busiest months for travel and she has “definitely noticed a drop in people booking hotels and Airbnbs.”
Taylor makes a significant chunk of her income from sales and bookings using affiliate links on her website.
Money isn’t the only adjustment travel influencers have had to make in the past few weeks – although it may be the most powerful. For many of them, globetrotting is their passion.
Now they are either faced with being forced to stay, or trying to keep up with their usual travels amid growing worries and advice for travel.
Eric Stoen, who travels the world with his wife and three children for his Instagram @travelbabbo, said he should be in Berlin, Florence, Catania and Istanbul last week. But successively, travel plans were canceled either by airlines or by people he wanted to meet at the destinations.
“If it had been just a hiccup, I would have continued the journey, but with literally every element imploding, I canceled my flights and hotels,” he said. “”[I] was very disappointed. “
However, Stoen tries to keep the normalcy of his busy travel schedule with his family.
“I still have European plans in May and June with my family and have no plans to cancel … I was with my family in Morocco and Spain two weeks ago and am working on editing photos and then a blog post from this trip. “
He said he is also currently trying to take advantage of low airfares and is “busy booking and rebooking trips” that had previously been canceled.
Some are taking more scrupulous steps to restrict their travels, not just to make themselves safer, but to project a responsible image online.
“We also need to think about not really traveling too much right now because encouraging travel at a time like this could be negatively encouraged,” said Lauren Bullen, whose travel and Instagram page @gypsea_lust over 2.1 Millions of followers have collected so far.
She currently lives in Bali and has told BuzzFeed News that she has experienced “distress” from members of her wanderlust travel community who are forced to postpone their travels indefinitely.
Still, most influencers try to keep an eye on everything and remain hopeful.
“It’s hard to be angry or upset that I’m losing income because there are thousands of people who have lost their lives to the virus,” Snape said.
“On the flip side, we’ll see destinations and airlines invest huge sums of money in the upswing that I can use to offset the current decline.”
“It feels like a waiting game right now,” added Taylor.