The global travel industry has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of jobs around the world are at risk and several companies have gone bankrupt since the many lockdowns. The United Nations has predicted that the crisis could cost global tourism and related sectors nearly $ 1.2 to 3.3 trillion in lost sales.
Even if restrictions gradually ease and flights resume, fear of the virus itself, Covid-19 tests, and mandatory quarantine on arrival will make the entire travel experience tedious and undesirable. In these unprecedented circumstances, vacation travel appears to be a luxury and those who rely on tourism to survive find themselves in a worrying and uncertain situation.
Travel bloggers, part of a new phenomenon of digital influence, are also bearing the brunt of the pandemic. Most of the international airlines still flying in and out of Pakistan and the EU have refused entry to most of Pakistani citizens as they stress compliance with SOPs. Areesha Khan, a Pakistani travel blogger who has visited 40 countries, says content creators who rely on travel were among the first to be hit by the pandemic. And since vacation travel has stalled, not many people visit the blogs, resulting in a loss of traffic and readership and new opportunities.
“Many travel bloggers have suffered the losses of trips planned for 2020. Those who did not have a diversified income or sufficient savings were looking for other ways to make money,” Areesha told The Express Tribune. “Some have also started offering online courses in photography, videography, blogging, or anything else that people might find helpful. Not to mention, travel blogging is a niche that you have to travel in order to create content. “
The blogger added that her content is in demand when people travel and go on vacation. “You [people] wanted to learn more about different countries, locations, hotels, food and visa processes. With limited travel options at the moment, everything comes to a standstill, which also means less traffic on my social media platforms, lower growth opportunities and less paid campaigns, ”she explained.
Wardah Khan, another local travel blogger, said her plans had been postponed due to Covid-19 and the impact of the pandemic on content creators was “bigger than we think”. “Bloggers / influencers who work full-time rely on brand affiliations and paid advertising. However, as brands cut their budgets and lower their incomes (due to lower profits), the earnings outlook for content creators is significantly lower. “
However, Wardah emphasized that bloggers can become more creative and effective with their content and can help people not only get through this difficult time but also support local businesses. She believes travel is likely to get more stressful, but hopes things will soon return to normal. “People are less likely to interact with strangers and hostels are more affected because they take in large numbers of people. But it is only a matter of time and it will return to normal. Stay tuned, we’ll be traveling soon, ”she said.
Travel blogging and local tourism
The Pakistani tourism industry has experienced a massive boom in the recent past thanks to an improved legal and regulatory situation and greater awareness. Likewise, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit last year and Conde Nast Traveler’s rankings for 2019 made a big difference.
Areesha believes bloggers and vloggers play a key role in helping local tourism reach its full potential through their social media presence. “Before the pandemic, we saw significant growth in tourism. I think the best way to promote tourism without overloading our resources and our environment is to explore the undiscovered places, ”she said, pointing to the less visited and“ unexplored ”places that Pakistan has to offer and abundance houses. “For example, there are also many beautiful sights to see in Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab – not only in the northern areas. Even now, many people are not aware of them, but if we start promoting them it will help a lot. “
Areesha emphasized that tourism wants to help the locals understand and respect their culture. Wardah believes influencers have a greater responsibility as they can also create more awareness and advocate sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism. “We have to play a role here and inform people about environmentally friendly tourism in order to conserve resources and save mother nature,” she said.
Cheaper travel costs and no visa requirements can push travelers into domestic markets, helping the local economy cope with the effects of the pandemic. Bloggers are also urging travel enthusiasts to visit local tourist attractions when they’re ready to head out amid the pandemic.
“Since travel is seen as a luxury unless absolutely necessary, people have to think twice before they can quickly book their tickets and take a flight to another country,” said Areesha. “Travel only when absolutely necessary because nothing is worth risking your life. However, if your region gets better, travel locally. Support your local tourism, help the economy and continue your adventures. “
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