Kyle Mulinder is due to celebrate his ten year anniversary this October, as a successful full-time digital influencer in the travel industry.

As of this week, he has had all future work cancelled, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kyle Mulinder has lost all future jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo / Supplied
Kyle Mulinder has lost all future jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo / Supplied

"Every job in the foreseeable future has been cut," says Mulinder, also known as Bare Kiwi through his blog and Instagram account. A GoPro, Ford NZ and Macpac brand ambassador, Mulinder shares curated photos and videos of him adventuring all over New Zealand - and the rest of the world - to his 64,200 Instagram followers and 56,000 fans on Facebook.

Some of his promotional jobs he had booked in the coming months included working with tourism agencies in California, Fiji and also Australia for bushfire relief, to help show New Zealanders that Australia was still open for business.

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They've now all been canned as tourism boards cut back on their advertising.

"Everything written in my calendar, everything is pulled," he told the Herald.

With a background as a sea kayaking guide in the Abel Tasman National Park near Nelson, Mulinder had hoped that guiding would be his fallback, in case his content creation jobs dried up. But with so many travel restrictions now in place, the backup plan has also fallen through.

"Holy crap, maybe I'm going to have to start picking apples," he says. "There goes the possibility of buying a house."

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Right now It feels like New Zealand is stuck in a massive hangover! No one knows what to do or feel right now. I was hoping that yesterdays announcement of closing our boarders was just a bad joke! In a blink of an eye 1000's of people's travel plans have come to a grinding halt and it seems the tourism seasons has ended immediately and there will be major long term negative effects, people are being let go as there is no work and right now Bare Kiwi as a business even feels like it's on the ropes, but.... Yes but, we still have to look forward. Please, call your friends and whanau (family) we are all in this together. I honestly fear tomorrows going to be one hell of a hangover Monday for us all. We will move forward, Mondays always end no matter how shit they are and over time even if it doesn't feel like it there's always a friday and weekend around the corner. If you know anyone with a business small or large or someone who works in tourism, give them a call and check in on them. I believe as a country we will be stronger than ever! We proved it one year ago today when we were at our lowest but we showed the world the meaning of Aroha (love) and Whanau (family). So in the meantime, I am so greatfull that I have my beautiful wife standing beside me and right now I'm isolated in one of the most beautiful country's in the world.

A post shared by Kyle "te Kiwi" Mulinder (@barekiwi) on


Travel influencers typically use several income streams to keep their business afloat year-round. There are paid marketing campaigns with tourism boards, where they receive a daily rate for writing articles, taking photos, video and sharing that content online and through social media. Daily rates can range betwen $500-$800.

Some influencers are brand ambassadors and are paid to promote a company's gear or equipment. There's also traditional advertising on their websites or blogs, and 'passive income', where bloggers make a commission from sales made as a result of recommendations they suggest online.

But at the moment, advertisers, tourism agencies and travel gear companies around the world are pulling back on their spend.

US-based influencer and marketing consultant Scott Eddy told the New York Times he'd lost five campaigns within 48 hours.

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"I do think they'll come back to the table, but no one can predict when this will end. It's all been put on indefinite hold," he told the paper. His losses accounted for more than US$25,000 (NZ$41,415) in income.

Influencers currently away on trips are also faced with concerns about how to get home, due to various countries' new border restrictions to minimise the spread of the virus.

In New Zealand, anyone arriving from overseas, except the Pacific, must self-isolate for 14 days.

Travel influencer conferences around the world have also been postponed, including the Women in Travel Summit in Kansas City and TBEX Europe in Catania, which usually attract upwards of 500 attendees from around the world at each event.

The Women In Travel Summit taking place in Kansas City will now be postponed and rescheduled to a later date to be...

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Sophie Piearcey is a content creator based in Queenstown, and runs the blog Notes of a Northerner. She says she has loyal clients who continue to back marketing, recognising that at some point the industry will bounce back.

"What worries me is that I have had two major jobs cancel due to being overseas in April, however I am hopeful that they will be rescheduled for a time when it is safer to travel," she told the Herald.

Travel influencer Sophie Piearcey is confident things will eventually come right, but is working on a backup plan. Photo / Supplied
Travel influencer Sophie Piearcey is confident things will eventually come right, but is working on a backup plan. Photo / Supplied

Her income is made up of content creation such as freelance writing, blogging and photography, social media and marketing services, so her income stream is diversified.

"I've already been in talks with two of my online friends about a plan B, how could we make something else work should the tourism industry crash."

Plan B for Piearcey would involve working more closely with companies who rely on online trade.

"In the long run it would be great to work within NZ, helping spread word about destinations in Aotearoa that need our help and could do with a boost in local tourism and help attract international visitors once more."

Promoting domestic tourism and encouraging Kiwis to explore local areas seems like the logical option for many companies in the travel industry right now.

NZME has this week begun an editorial campaign, called GoNZ to help promote local operators.

"Across many industries, jobs and livelihoods are at risk, not least in travel and hospitality," states NZME. "Seeing our own attractions is the safest, most carefree break available for now and will help local people and businesses cope with the economic impact of the pandemic."

But not everyone feels comfortable suggesting people jump on a plane to another part of the country.

"What's the social responsibility?" asks Mulinder. "Do I promote? Do I say travel or locally travel? Is it responsible to fly from one island to the other? I don't know what the responsible answer is."

Kyle Mulinder wants Kiwis to help support local businesses. Photo / Supplied
Kyle Mulinder wants Kiwis to help support local businesses. Photo / Supplied

In spite of his hesitancy to encourage air travel amidst a global pandemic, Mulinder says there's no doubt New Zealanders still need to go and explore their own neighbourhoods and sights in their city of residence. "This is the time to help a local operator out."

"When was the last time you went to Kelly Tarlton's?"

Mulinder says he understands many people find domestic travel and local attractions expensive, but he says operators and guides need to make a living.

"I cost money because I'm a human. Kiwis are definitely the tightest humans on the planet, so this is the time to help each other out.

"New Zealand is one of the most beautiful, desirable countries in the world."

Piearcey's also staying positive.

"There is concern but things will eventually come right, so focusing on the positives, your health, family and friends right now is what should be taking a priority in your life."