Twenty-five of the world’s top travel bloggers from a dozen countries have been selected for a trip on board the ‘Kerala Blog Express’ being organised by the state Tourism Department. The bloggers were selected through an online contest.
The ‘Kerala Blog Express’, a luxury bus carrying the winners of the competition, will be flagged off by Tourism Minister Anil Kumar here on March 10. The bus will travel along the length of Kerala from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod in a trip lasting two weeks.
There are four winners each from the United States and India, followed by three each from Brazil and the Philippines and two each from Germany, Spain and Indonesia.
The remaining five are from Denmark, Mexico, Poland, Italy and Portugal.
Announcing the winners and plans to roll out the Blog Express, Anil Kumar told mediapersons that it would be one of the biggest tourism promotions to be undertaken by the state with the help of social media.
“The first-of-its-kind event will go a long way in boosting tourist arrivals in the state in the future,” he said.
The selected bloggers are all internationally renowned with a reputation of swaying travellers’ choice of destination through accounts of their journeys around the world.
During the two weeks on the ‘Kerala Blog Express’, the participants will be writing on their experiences of ‘God’s Own Country’, reaching an audience of millions of people. “Social media is changing the way people make travel decisions. It has a tremendous influence on the tourism sector,” Tourism Secretary Suman Billa said.
“With Kerala Blog Express we hope to leverage this power and promote our state globally”.
The winners were chosen from over 600 entries from 80 countries.
Netizens and fans of contesting bloggers were given a chance to vote for their favourites on www.keralablogexpress.com website.
Since the launch of the competition in January, the website had more than two lakh visitors from around 150 countries.
Many of the bloggers such as Inma Gregorio (Spain), Nelson Carvalheiro (Germany), Oscar Augusto (Brazil) and Gael Hilton (Philippines) enjoy a worldwide following and have been featured on international travel magazines such as the National Geographic Magazine and Lonely Planet.
The luxury bus, branded specially for the campaign, will take the participants from Thiruvananthapuram to Kovalam before going to Varkala.
The bus will also travel to the backwaters in Alappuzha and in Kumarakom, where the visitors are expected to get a first-hand experience of village life.
The bloggers would also visit Kerala Kalamandalam where they would be introduced to classic art forms of the state.
Other destinations on their itinerary include Thekkady, Bekal Fort, Fort Kochi and Mattancherry. They would also be introduced to ayurveda system of medicine.