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Goans Irked After Travel Influencer’s Posts on Tourism During Pandemic in Goa; influencer Apologies

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Shenaz Treasury
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A popular travel influencer, “ShenazTreasury” faced severe criticism from Goans online for a social media post of hers, which she was later forced to delete. The travel influencer, who posted a selfie while riding pillion on a two-wheeler along with Goa’s Anjuna village, received major criticism from many Goans, who largely pointed out the influencer’s lack of conscience to wear a mask in public, as Goa continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her Instagram caption to the image now-deleted read, “After five months at home, I feel like a prisoner who’s escaped and found freedom! Goa is open to tourism… most restaurants and hotels are shut and empty. But you can find a few open. There are very few people here, the streets are deserted but that’s how I like it especially during covid times.”

This resulted in a whole outpouring of comments from many, who raised several questions as to how the content creator – in her professional capacity as an influencer – was risking public health of people within the state by inviting tourist to visit Goa, as much of it is deserted due to the pandemic.

“Please stop promoting tourism in Goa. No, we are not open to tourists. Every day we are losing Goans due to COVID. There was a point of time when we [were] at 0 cases for a month and a half. Now, 100s are dead.  … if you really want to make an apology, you should post that Goa is not open for tourism. Tourists can wait for this [till] we get passed this pandemic,” one user commented.

After the entire barrage, the influencer was impelled to issue an apology. She said in a post, “I apologize for not wearing a mask in my earlier post. My rationale was that I was in spots that were absolutely empty or in my own hotel with friends who I am traveling with. I do realize that I am setting an example to others and It may seem like I am saying that a mask is not needed in Goa. This is not true. We must be responsible when around others and wear a mask.”

However, several others also pointed out that the travel influencer isn’t the sole person to be blamed for traveling to the state, but it’s the state’s political brass that opened up the state for domestic tourists earlier in June, amid rising cases in the state.

Though much of the state’s tourism activities remain shut, some tourists have chosen to drive to the state – especially those who have holiday homes and private villas.

Goa currently has 14,530 confirmed cases of the coronavirus infection, with 157 deaths reported to date. 3149 of the total are active cases.

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