Popular Instagram travel influencer ‘ShenazTreasury’ was forced to delete an Instagram post after she faced a backlash and a barrage of comments
In a post on Instagram, Shenaz posted a selfie of herself riding pillion on a two wheeler in Anjuna in Goa without a mask.
“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, streets are deserted but that’s how I like it especially during covid times,” she said in the post.
What followed was a barrage of comments questioning the propriety of travelling during the pandemic and how travellers like herself could be risking the health of the local population since unnecessary travel should be avoided. The adverse comments prompted an apology from the influencer.
“… the Goa government has opened its state up for tourism and being a travel content creator, I want to stand by travel. Travel is the most affected industry in this pandemic, I want to support it. I didn’t realise that the locals felt so strongly against having visitors and didn’t want tourists here. Sorry again Goa locals, I understand your perspective,” she said.
“I apologise 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 travelling with. I do realise 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…,” she said.
However, many were quick to point out that it is not about a mask, but rather promoting travel during these ‘dangerous’ times was the real problem.
“Goa is touching [the] highest numbers everyday, the moment you landed in Goa you have been trying to portray as this place that is carefree and where one can go to escape it all. I’m sorry but is everyone else sitting at home an idiot? We go wanna go for vacation, your posts have done nothing but encourage reckless behaviour during this pandemic. So called influencers should know better,” an Instagram user by the name globetrotter.chika said.
“Like me a lot of other Goans depend on the tourism industry for our bread and butter, but at this point when the state is struggling to get things under control we don’t need tourists to come and add fuel to the fire,” kaioo_2396 said.
“[Goa is] up and running because the economy of Goa depends on tourism. Also the medical facilities in Goa was on the news for not being able to provide adequate treatment to all its citizens suffering from the disease. Goa is open because we have no other option. Imagine getting tested positive after coming to Goa. The government here cannot even guarantee you adequate treatment. You are gonna put your own lives at risk. Give it time till everything comes back to normal,” Serial_chiller_0_0 another commentator said.
However, others pointed out that one couldn’t really blame the influencers or the tourists who chose to travel
“Isn’t it the ministers who decided that Goa is open for tourism? If we had collectively bashed them on such decisions, that would have been far more productive than going after an Instagram influencer. Noise like this works brilliantly in favour of these politicians who are then away from the spotlight and free to finish off this state without any sort of questioning or scanner on them,” Shreyas Naique a resident of Goa said.
Goa opened for tourism in early July and while arrivals have been very minimal there have been tourists who have chosen to travel — mainly those who prefer to drive down who have found empty stretches of beach and a few open hotels. But much of Goa’s attractions and nightlife zones remain closed.
Goa is reporting over 300 cases each day of the novel coronavirus and has recorded nearly 150 deaths.