Are influencers flaunting a sense of normality?

Influencers in Dubai
Influencers have been travelling to Dubai during the pandemic. Source: Sukhjinder (via Pixahive)
With influencers travelling to Dubai and overcoming travel restrictions, it seems they are flaunting the luxury of normality we can't afford during a pandemic.

By Tirion Davies | Editor-in-Chief

Despite a travel ban on hundreds of countries across the world, there has been a surge in influencers travelling to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, with many claiming the trips have been essential to their jobs.

Fitness blogger Sheridan Mordew recently came under fire after appearing on ITV’s This Morning, after travelling to Dubai in order to provide “sunny content for her followers”. Ms Mordew’s local area in the UK is classed under Tier 4 restrictions.

This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby questioned Ms Mordew as to whether she believed her actions could influence others to stop following COVID-19 rules. The influencer replied, “in a world where you can be anything, be kind”.

Willoughby later went on to argue the sentiment “be kind” was unfair to NHS staff and frontline workers fighting the COVID-19, at a time where the number of cases of the virus are higher than at the height of the first lockdown a year ago.

Although Sheridan Mordew was one of few to address their trip to Dubai, many influencers, including reality tv stars, were quick to jet off to the United Arab Emirates before a UK travel ban was put in place, citing work commitments.

Despite promotional work and being an influencer not being on the list for essential travel, there is the opportunity to travel for ‘business’, an opportunity many influencers have taken to justify their trips abroad.

A handful of the influencers caught travelling to Dubai and partying have addressed the situation. Many of them have posted messages to their social media or included videos of themselves, though the messages rarely address concerns made by the public.

Travelling to another country and spend time with other influencers could lead to an increased pressure on an already struggling NHS when these influencers return.

The United Arab Emirates have seen a surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the New Year – which is likely to lead to influencers contracting COVID-19 and bringing it back to the UK.

The biggest concern regarding these influencer trips to Dubai have been that there is a possibility to create sponsored content from home. Undoubtedly, companies would understand the constraints the world is under during this time.

With influencers travelling while the rest of the country remains in strict lockdown, it seems unlikely many will feel encouraged to buy the sponsored content. If everyone else is staying at home to protect their families, others, and the NHS, why would influencers be applauded for doing the opposite?

It’s been a year since the initial case of COVID-19 was found in the UK, from a student at the University of York. Currently, the UK is facing its worst surge in COVID-19 cases since the initial lockdown period in March 2020.

Influencers travelling to Dubai may cause an outrage of ‘if they can do it, why can’t we?’. It’s a good question. How can we justify influencers travelling to countries like the United Arab Emirates to party and call it business, when the sponsored content they are producing abroad is the same content they could easily create from home?

For many of us, it’s been almost a full year since we were able to embrace our family members and experience normal life.

Influencers are flaunting a sense of normality none of us have the luxury of during this pandemic.

Er cyfyngiadau teithio ar gannoedd o wledydd ar draws y byd, mae nifer o ddylanwadwyr wedi teithio i Dubai o’r United Arab Emirates, gyda nifer yn dadlau bod y trip yn angenrheidiol i’w swydd.

Yn ddiweddar, wnaeth dylanwadwr Sheridan Mordew mynd ar raglen This Morning ITV i drafod ei thrip i Dubai, yn sôn bod rhaid iddi greu “cynnwys heulog” i’w ddilynwyr. Mae ardal leol Ms Mordew yn y Deyrnas Unedig dan gyfyngiadau Tier 4 ar hyn o’r bryd.

Gofynnwyd Holly Willoughby, cyflwynydd This Morning, os oedd Ms Mordew yn teimlo gall ei weithredoedd effeithio ar y ffordd bod eraill yn dilyn y rheolau COVID-19. Ni wnaeth y ddylanwadwr ateb y cwestiwn yn benodol, ond yn sôn dylai pobl fod yn garedig i’w gilydd.

Yn ôl Ms Willoughby, mae’n annheg i Ms Mordew sôn am garedigrwydd tra ei bod hi’n rhoi fwy o bwysau ar y GIG wrth deithio yn ystod cyfnod pandemig.

Er Sheridan Mordew oedd un o ond nifer fach o ddylanwadwyr a wnaeth trafod eu teithiau i Dubai, roedd nifer eang o ddylanwadwyr ledled y Deyrnas Unedig wedi teithio i’r United Arab Emirates cyn i Brydain cynnig gwaharddiad teithio.

Nid yw bod yn dylanwadwr yn cyfri fel rhan o’r cyfyngiadau teithio sydd yn ei le yn y Deyrnas Unedig, ond mae nifer ohonynt yn defnyddio’r esgus o ‘busnes’ i allu teithio.

Mae’r United Arab Emirates wedi gweld cynnydd sylweddol yn niferoedd COVID-19 yn ddiweddar. Mae’n debygol y bydd dylanwadwyr yn derbyn coronafeirws tra yn Dubai a’i chymryd nôl i’r DU.

Mae’n hollol bosib gallu creu cynnwys ar-lein o adref, yn hytrach na’i chreu yn Dubai. Mae’n siŵr bydd cwmnïoedd yn deall y problemau mae’n rhaid i’r byd dilyn ar hyn o’r bryd?

Ond, tra bod dylanwadwyr yn teithio ar draws y byd pan bod eraill yn aros adref, mae’n annhebygol y byddem yn teimlo’n ddylanwadol i brynu’r cynnwys. Os bod pawb arall yn aros adref i edrych ar ôl y GIG, pam dylem ni diolch i’r rheini sy’n wneud yn wahanol?

Mae flwyddyn wedi bod ers dechrau’r pandemig yma yn y DU, a blwyddyn ers i nifer ohonom cwtchio’n teulu. Sut allen ni adael i ddylanwadwyr teithio ar draws y byd am ‘busnes’ tra bod pawb arall yn aros adref?

Mae dylanwadwyr yn chwifio fersiwn o normal ni all unrhyw un cael tra bod problem COVID-19 yn parhau.

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