Influencers in Dubai: why are Scottish Instagram stars Jane Park and Anton Danyluk in the UAE during lockdown?

The Love Island star and the EuroMillions winner are just two of the social media personalities sunning themselves in the Emirates, along with people like Laura Anderson

A host of influencers are defending international trips as national lockdowns keep many Brits stuck at home over the winter period.

Names like Anton Danyluk and Jane Park have jetted out to the emirate in recent weeks, with critics back home accusing them of ‘fleeing’ coronavirus restrictions in place across the UK.

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Recently, a Guardian article tried to get to the bottom of these influencers’ lavish excursions, contacting 23 such personalities for answers. Of the 23 contacted, the agency of only one “provided a statement on her behalf.”

Influencers have claimed they have to travel to exotic locations during a global pandemic for 'work' (Photo: Shutterstock)

"Twenty-one did not respond, while [Anton] Danyluk’s agent asked if the influencer would receive a fee.”

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So just why has it become such a thorny issue in recent days? Here is everything you need to know about it.

Why are people annoyed?

Love Island's Anton Danyluk has admitted that while his trip to Dubai did start as a holiday, 'business opportunities' meant he was now staying there more permanently (Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Under current lockdown rules, those living in the UK must not leave home or travel, including internationally, unless they have a legally permitted reason to do so.

On top of that, those intending to travel to England, Scotland, or Wales, including UK nationals returning home from travel abroad, must provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test result taken up to three days before departure.

You must also self-isolate when you enter the UK from any foreign country except Ireland.

Suffice to say, going on holiday is neither advised, not legal at this moment in time

As tempting as it might be, travel from the UK to Dubai is currently not permitted without a legal exemption (Photo: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

That’s left a bad taste in the mouths of many ‘ordinary’ members of the public, many of whom are stuck inside during some of the bleakest months of the year, unable to see friends or family and live their lives in the normal fashion.

Why should influencers be able to fly out to warmer climates when the rest of us are forced – by law – to contend with the cold and the rain?

How can influencers get away with it?

Many of them left before the New Year, before the advice and rules on international travel became quite as strict as they are now.

"I came out here at the start of December when travel restrictions weren’t in place,” said Danyluk on social media, confirming that he's “still sticking to the regulations in this country”, and “when I did travel there were no regulations.”

The reality TV star – who first found fame on ITV’s Love Island in 2019 – said he was only meant to be in Dubai for a week, admitting that though he did originally travel to the country for a holiday, “business opportunities” meant his stay had become more permanent.

Indeed, many influencers are claiming they’re able to travel to hotspots on account of it being for work.

Being an influencer might not seem like ‘work’ in the traditional sense, but it often requires a savvy business mind to take advantage of the latest opportunities, as well as a strong work ethic to make sure you’re in line for the best chances at success, and not left by the wayside.

It's a competitive business.

"You’ve seen in the last two two and a half weeks I’ve put things in place, I’ve been in the gym training," Danyluk added.

“I’ve literally got my living and working residency out here at the moment. I don’t want you thinking I’m just using the word ‘working’ out here loosely. You’ll see what I’m putting together in the next few weeks.”

In fact, Danyluk has at least been honest with his fans and admitted that yes, the UK going back into lockdown did have a bearing on his decision to stay overseas.

"What was I meant to do, come home when I’ve got business opportunities and a better way of life out here?” he said.

‘A better way of life’

He's not the only influencer who’s found a better life calling from Dubai.

Jane Park – Britain’s youngest EuroMillions winner – has also received criticism for her trip to Dubai.

The 25-year old has been posting pictures and video clips of her and her friends enjoying the nightlife of the affluent capital, attracting much ire from fans back home.

But, as she explained on social media, she too has actually made a permanent move.

"I'm over here and won't be returning," she said. “Can everyone stop with the Dubai abuse.

"I'm sick of message[s]... saying I'm selfish etc when all I've done is moved somewhere to better my life and try and make 2021 more positive than 2020."

Will the hard work pay off?

Let's accept for a moment that being an influencer is harder than it looks; these aren’t simply lavish holidays these people are on.

According to some experts, travelling out to places like Dubai during a pandemic is a bad look.

Sarah Penny, head of content at the marketing agency Influencer Intelligence, told The Guardian that “it’s clear that audiences are very sensitive to people’s [behaviour]”, and advised social media personalities to think twice about posting.

Keith Herman, chief executive of celebrity holiday company Trending Travel, said the company had advised many influencers it works with against posting at the moment.

“We’ve told them the world has changed over the last two weeks, you’ve got to be more sensitive to who is seeing your posts.

“Morally they should just lie low at the moment… Most have listened to us.”