A core group of bloggers from around the country concluded their travel across Kerala to generate their experiential accounts over new media as part of ‘My First Trip 2021’ campaign organized by Kerala Tourism to bring back tourists in post-Covid times.
The video-centric campaign by young influencers drew to a close in this coastal city on Monday evening, turning a new leaf in Kerala Tourism’s efforts to enable travelers re-focus their attention on the famed destinations in God’s Own Country.
The ‘My First Trip 2021’ initiative under the Kerala Blog Express saw its ten participants on specially-branded cars undertake different itineraries for five days before converging here to share their experience briefly over dinner.
More of their narratives will be emerging in the coming days and weeks as images, videos and literature shared on social-media platforms with #MyFirstTrip as the hashtag.
“The bloggers who joined the trip will virtually announce to the world that tourism in Kerala has picked up a year after we were locked down owing to the pandemic,” said Rani George, IAS, Principal Secretary, Kerala Tourism. “The state has, for the past six months, been showing signs of a major revival in tourism. ‘My First Trip 2021’ will reinforce this trend”, she added.
“Kerala Tourism is certain to gain greater visibility in the coming days through the writings, images and videos generated by the participants, who command a good following on social media,” said V R Krishna Teja IAS, Director, Kerala Tourism.
At a celebratory function in the state-owned Bolgatty Palace last evening, the bloggers gave a glimpse of their March 25-29 trip . The travellers were from both metropolises and small cities: Mumbai (four), Delhi (three) and one each from Hyderabad (Telangana), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Ajmer (Rajasthan).
Unlike its previous editions, Kerala Blog Express this time featured only domestic influencers, aiming to boost the domestic marketing initiatives of Kerala Tourism.
The #MyFirstTrip destinations came under a wide purview: rural life, adventure, cuisine, culture and lifestyle among others. Dotting North Malabar to the state’s deep south, each stopover overwhelmed the bloggers.
Kritika Sharma, for instance, was in awe of the range of things Kerala offers to a tourist. “Be it spices, tea gardens, waterfalls…you have everything here. Come over, what are you waiting for!” she gushes.
Fellow Mumbaikar Deepangshu Sangwan sounded particularly thrilled about the unique exposure to ethnicity on his visit to the rocky Vellar hamlet near Kovalam where the Kerala Arts & Crafts Village is located. Its handicraft stalls and recreational facilities came in streaks, yet with full glory, in the traveler’s video diary.
Ajmer’s Shakti Singh Shekhawat, overwhelmed by the lush-green Alappuzha backwaters that stand in contrast to his home state of Rajasthan, borrowed a trendy Malayalam word to convey his exhilaration: “Adipoli!”
While Delhiite Aanchal Goel was seen dancing on the deck of her houseboat, Anil Kumar Geela from Hyderabad took time off to travel down the cable car at the hilly and picturesque Jatayu Earth Centre in Chadayamangalam of Kollam district.
The Influencers were also greatly impressed by the state’s trendsetting Responsible Tourism initiative, which has the local communities and their livelihood and heritage as the focal point.
The other places along the bloggers’ itinerary included Thumboormuzhi Garden and Athirappaly waterfalls near Chalakudy in Thrissur district, Malakkapara hill-station, Munroe Island (Kollam) and the bird sanctuary in Kumarakom (Kottayam), Muziris Heritage project sites north of Kochi, Punnamada lake, Marari beach, boating along the Periyar lake, Tea Museum and the dams in Idukki district, besides water sports at Cherai, off Kochi.
Kerala Tourism Joint Director, A Shahul Hameed spoke at the function, which was also addressed by Tourism Information Officer, K R Sajeev.