Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 6 : "Kerala is absolutely amazing -- a land where nature, culture and people harmonise so well to make the visiting an unforgettable experience and simply unmissable, this was the general observation of the members of a group of 26 bloggers from 21 countries who just concluded a fortnight-long tour of the state.
Facilitated by Kerala’s Tourism Department in partnership with the trade the sixth edition of the Kerala Blog Express (KBE), which set out from Kochi on March 21, wound up at the internationally renowned Kovalam beach resort, near here, on Friday evening.
As top travel bloggers and social influencers, who have been to many parts of the world, each one of them has his or her personal choices and judgements when it comes to rating and writing about the places they visit. But while sharing their experience of the current trip at the sea-front Hotel Leela Raviz, they were unanimous in their view that "Kerala is a place which no traveller can afford to miss."
“It’s an experience of life. It’s all about getting memories,” said Shea Powell from Jamaica. “I will tell the world about the “complete and different experience of Kerala through my blog.” Shea was especially bowled over by the exquisite taste and variety of Kerala’s spice-rich food and Alleppey (Alappuzha) remains one of the best places she has ever seen anywhere in the world.
“The most striking thing about Kerala is its tranquility and its friendly people,” said Alex Chacon, blogger and video producer from the US. “I will certainly record the deep impression that Kerala has left on me and post videos and photographs on my blog www. Conquer The World.com,” he gushed forth. Thanking the participants for showing keen interest in Kerala, Tourism Secretary Ms Rani George said the latest edition of KBE would certainly generate a lot more enthusiasm about the state the world over.
“They all say it had been a memorable experience. I am sure the writings and images to be put out by these 26 bloggers from 21 countries would take forward Kerala Tourism’s Human by Nature campaign,” said Ms George, who was present to listen to their experiences and bid farewell to them.
“This time round, we have been able to bring bloggers from Latin American and African countries. This will help create greater global interest about Kerala,” said P Bala Kiran, Director of Tourism. “All those who had joined the journey are going to be our brand ambassadors,” he said, adding: “It was a joint endeavour of the State Government and Tourism trade,” he added. Mr Baby Mathew, president, Kerala Travel Mart Society (KTM), was also present.
Farhana Oberson from Kenya was presented the Kerala Tourism’s prize for the best content posted during the journey for her video on the state and its people. “Kerala has the most kind and smiling people I have seen in any place I visited,” she said after receiving the prize.
A unique initiative of Kerala’s Tourism Department, KBE seeks to earn global focus on the state’s brand assets through first-hand accounts of the travellers. The journey facilitated the visitors to write and post their experiences real-time, as the luxury coach that took them to the best locations of the state was equipped with cutting-edge connectivity solutions.
The KBE this time had a stronger representation from Latin American countries and had 16 of its 26 bloggers women. The endeavour was based on Kerala Tourism’s latest global campaign titled ‘Human by Nature’, a three-minute video film that encapsulates the scenic state’s unique charms. KBE shaped up after organisers shortlisted more than 7,000 entries the department received from 50-plus countries.
The bloggers in KBE 6 included the well-known Alex Chacon of the US and London-based Alex Outhwaite. While Chaon has traversed through more than 60 countries on a motorcycle clocking over two lakh kilometres and has two lakh followers on Youtube, Outhwaite has more than one lakh followers on Facebook.
Nelson Mochilero from Peru is a creator of the first website for backpackers in Spanish, having more than six lakh followers on Facebook.
During their Kerala trip, the bloggers were exposed to a multitude of experiences, including adventure activities, Responsible Tourism initiatives, culture, classical art forms and cuisines.
Combining the effect of all the six editions of Kerala Blog Express, Kerala Tourism has now more than a 100 Brand Ambassadors. The Kerala Tourism official facebook page is the number one portal of any such tourism departments in the country. Apart from Facebook, Kerala Tourism has an active presence on Twitter and Instagram. (UNI)