Life, as we know it, has come to a complete standstill.
Over 200 countries have been affected by Covid-19, and this has led to economies and various industries suffering a major setback.
The travel and tourism industry was one of the first sectors to bear the brunt of this crisis. And with that, many from the industry, starting from the airlines to hospitality and more, saw little to no work coming in. This meant job cuts and losses in huge numbers.
In fact, a study on Statista predicts a loss of about 75.2 million jobs worldwide in only 2020 in the global travel and tourism market.
But these numbers only pertain to regular jobs. What about the entire segment of travel bloggers and influencers who are solely dependent on travel?
While some continue to juggle between work and travel, others have quit their regular 9-5 jobs. But for all of them, travelling has been not only their best source of income but a part of their lives as well. As they fill up their blogs and social media accounts with stories and images of their adventures for their followers, this pandemic has brought their lives to a complete halt.
From losses due to cancellations, uncertainty of the future and more, read on to know more about their first hand experiences and opinions as 7 popular travel bloggers and influencers from India share the impact of the pandemic on their lives.
Shreya is a full time marketing professional and consultant who has been pursuing her passion for travel alongside her career. Having been to over 25 countries, she has no thoughts of ending her travel journey anytime soon.
"Travel for me is a learning process, things that we cannot learn in books but experience in reality and understand different cultures! From all that we have experienced and learnt travelling, humanity is the biggest culture and it's time for us to support one another to bring everything back on track! Staying indoors is the least we can contribute, and for those who are privileged, they can help the ones fighting the situation! Taking a moment to be grateful for what we have and praying for the ones affected!”
Having worked in one of India’s top 10 law firms for 10 years, Khyati left her job at the beginning of 2019 to become a full-time traveller. In her travel blog, a lawyer’s voyage, she writes all about her travel experiences, itineraries, tips and photo stories.
“The coronavirus has shut down travel. Just like many other industries, we’ve been hit hard. The fact is, travel bloggers rely specifically on movement and now, we aren’t moving. When the income depends on promoting travel, staying at home comes with a cost!
Bloggers, usually, monetize from their website, through ads, as influencers, by taking up freelancing assignments and likewise. At this moment, except for travel throwbacks, I am left with no content to post on social media! We are losing campaigns as influencers, and we don’t see fresh travels getting booked anytime soon. Although the coronavirus outbreak has caused a huge negative impact on our business, I feel that as a blogger, it isn’t right for me to promote travel at a time like this, as I owe a responsibility towards my audience. Eventually, it will be alright but no one can predict when. At this point, everything is in a limbo.
We need to accept that bloggers are freelancers and in freelancing jobs, nothing is guaranteed. After all, it’s a choice that you make in life!”
Leaving his family business 2 years ago, Romeer Sen decided to be a full time traveller and influencer in order to pursue his dream of travelling the world. However, he was already an avid traveller, having being travelled widely for 13 years. Til date, he has visited 33 countries and is determined to work on checking places off his bucketlist after the current crisis.
“The coronavirus has led to a crisis in the Travel and Tourism Industry.
If we put an estimate, something between INR 1000 to 1500 Crores would be lost. And this includes airlines, hotels, restaurants & tourist spots, to name a few. People would lose jobs in millions because when there is no business, everything is shut down and there is no need for manpower.
And how much time it would take to recover is yet to be known, because we still do not know when the actual lockdown will be over. India is in lockdown mode for 21 days as of now and Australia has announced a lockdown for 6 months.
Asian countries are going to be affected the most as we were the most preferred and cheapest tourist destination in the world but now everything has fallen silent.
This is the time when we all should promise that once this is over, we have to support the Tourism Industry to have a good kick start. And for now, let us show our support in whatever manner we can to those people who are losing their jobs because of the lockdown and its effect on the tourism industry.
As a travel influencer and blogger, I want the world to heal soon so that I can continue my journey to see the world and also influence others to see it.”
A post graduate in Marketing, Ami Bhat has chosen to be a full time travel writer and blogger. Her work has been featured on various platforms including Lonely Planet India and Huffington Post India.
"Travel websites across the world started reporting a dip in their website traffic and online bookings since January 2020. I saw this effect on my website around the first week of March. Not only did my traffic start dropping, my affiliate click-throughs and income almost stopped.
Frankly, I was prepared for this and knew there is not much one can do about the affiliate incomes. After all, it would be prudent to avoid physical travel right now. It will be quite a while before any kind of normal travel starts picking up.
Having said that, it would be good to encourage consumption of travel content – through travel pictures, websites and blogs, books and travel documentaries. While this might not completely replace our incomes,
in some way, it will still help us keep the virtual travel going."
A Google employee, Vrinda has been travelling all her life. She has travelled all across India and just started travelling internationally in 2017, covering 23 countries since then.
“I was supposed to move to the Philippines for a year to explore the country at length and live the island life but now my travel plan stands suspended indefinitely. I lost 50K in flight bookings as Air Asia is not reachable. On social media, my travel page @theindiantripper has also seen followers drop even as I am trying to keep up with the content. In one year, I visit 5-6 countries but this year it looks like it’s going to be a while before I can travel again.
For now I would urge everyone to stay at home and stay safe. This is definitely not the right time to travel. For the safety of your family and everyone else around you, stay at home until the Government declares that we have overcome this pandemic.”
A marketing manager and a graphic designer by profession, Shivani is a solo traveller who also promotes responsible travel and has covered 24 countries as part of her journey.
"The cascading effect of coronavirus has crippled many industries, and tourism is one of the worst-hit sectors. The closure of borders and the complete lockdown have actually worsened the blow.
Personally, as a travel blogger, this is a very confusing stage for me because our social presence, and for many others, their livelihood is based on their travel tales. And now, since all the travelling has been stopped, it’s getting hard for us to generate the travel content. The other downside is that we travel bloggers plan our trips well in advance and most of us had to cancel the upcoming trips, which led to great losses!
My heart goes out to people whose livelihood depends completely on tourism: small hotels, restaurants, tour companies and people working with them! I just hope the situation gets better soon and we go back to the normal world."
Simi Singh and Amrit Singh
Sisters Simi and Amrit are a travel duo who work full time in the IT industry and travel whenever possible. They are also national level basketball players and have travelled to 10 countries till date.
“It’s quite difficult to pinpoint at this point in time how travel will ramp up once the world recovers from the coronavirus pandemic and its impact. We know the country we want to travel to this year and the kind of places we want to see but little did we know that 2020 is going to throw us a curve ball on our travel plans.
This curve ball isn’t just impacting us travellers but also the places we visit. Many countries, islands, cities solely depend on tourism as their source of income, and have possibly had the most severe impact.
We cannot begin to imagine how they are dealing with no tourists, no revenue sources and no visibility into when the world will return to business as usual.
Even though all the grounded flights are having a positive impact on our environment with animals and birds starting to make their presence known, it's not looking too positive for the airlines, hospitality and tourism industry in general with multiple companies looking at pay-cuts and leaves without pay for their employees.”
Although nobody knows how long it will take for the situation to be under control, these travel bloggers still hold on to their travel dreams in a post Covid-19 world. And while they realize their financial losses and cancelled plans, they all have something in common: Fellow feeling and hope for a new world, a new normal without Covid-19.