In a normal world influencers posting on social media from exotic locations would be seen as nothing out of the ordinary. However, when the world is in the middle of a pandemic, it’s a whole other story.

In the UK the number of cover cases are rising and many countries are being removed from it’s travel corridor list. The United Arab Emirates will be removed from the travel corridor list from and British nationals returning home now have to isolate for 10 days. 

Over recent weeks, reality stars have been seen flaunting their lavish Dubai ‘work’ trips whilst back at home the UK are in a nationwide lockdown. Many of the influencers have travelled abroad, saying that their trips are ‘for work’.

In 2020 UK residents made 939,000 visits abroad in the second quarter, this was 96% fewer than the previous year due to coronavirus, however, this is still a significant number of people travelling during a pandemic.

The main bulk of those that the public have seen travelling abroad, has been influencers. Social media users have noticed that a significant number of influencers; mainly former stars of reality TV, such as Love Island and Geordie Shore; appear to be in the UAE.  This has caused a large backlash from fans who have been in the UK in lockdown amid the pandemic.These influencers are posting pictures and stories of sunbathing and going out for dinner as Dubai is not subject to lockdown measures like in the UK. 

With “essential work trips” being one of very few reasons allowed for travel within the UK’s lockdown, some of the influencers in Dubai are trying to indicate that their 3,400-mile trip was an essential part of their work; appearing in videos and paid-for endorsements.

As the reaction to influencers being abroad grew, the Love Island star Anton Danyluk, who has been in Dubai since 10 December, showed a video of his laptop with a view of the skyline behind it with the caption “love my office view”. Many other influencers also started posting photos of their laptops to try and solidify the notion that they were travelling for work.

Gabby Allen, a former Love Island star, told her followers: “Hey guys, just to let you know, we made the decision to fly out to Dubai as my boyfriend’s business is based here and luckily allows us to travel.” Other reality stars such as Love Island star Kaz Crossley has been there since October and her agent said this therefore made her a “resident” and not a tourist, the same claim was made by fellow islander Georgia Harrison.

However, not all influencers appreciate the bad press. Olivia Atwood also a former Love Island star went to instagram to express how she felt about the whole situation, “It’s the constant I’m working not on holiday shout” she said to her followers, “there’s a difference from being able to earn money from wherever you are than being on holiday for work… it’s just stupid”.

Former Love Island star Olivia Attwood called out her fellow influencers for travelling.

Some local residents of the UAE welcome the tourism and business but some are not happy about what it could cause. 

Speaking to the Guardian, Rhea Matthew, a social care executive, said the problem was a specifically British one and coincided with the rising case count in the UAE. “Our city became so full overnight. Things were good and then boom – tourists everywhere. Things are escalating here and it’s scary.”

Influencers have not been willing to expand further on the statements they have made on social media. The 10 influencers that were contacted by Unmasked news did not respond.

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