Kerala Tourism conducted a pioneering travel initiative led by ten influencers from around the country who carried out a new-media campaign to attract domestic tourists in the post-COVID era. Ms. Rani George IAS, Principal Secretary, Tourism, flagged off the Kerala Blog Express, titled ‘My First Trip 2021’ which was held from March 25 to 29, 2021.
The influencers followed different itineraries for six nights and five days, facilitating production of exclusive contents for Kerala Tourism. The images, videos and literature generated by them were shared on social-media platforms as #MyFirstTrip, announcing to the world that destinations in God’s Own Country continue to be open for tourists.
“Tourism industry was struck by the pandemic and Kerala was no exception. Gradually, we learned to live on with COVID-19. We started to see visitors coming to Kerala from November-December 2020. Now, these vloggers can also spread the word to the world that Kerala is safer to explore since COVID-19 cases are on the decline in the state. So, people would understand the situation,” Ms. George said.
Kerala Tourism Director Mr. V. R. Krishna Teja IAS, and Mr. Biju B. S. Deputy Director, Marketing, Kerala Tourism, were also present at the function held at the Mascot Hotel in Thiruvananthapuram.
While the previous editions of the Kerala Blog Express had only international bloggers and social media influencers, ‘My First Trip 2021’ had only domestic influencers, and was aimed at providing additional impetus to the current domestic marketing initiatives of Kerala. Four of the influencers were from Mumbai, three from Delhi and one each from Hyderabad (Telangana), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Ajmer (Rajasthan). ‘My First Trip’ took the influencers on a trip across various destinations in ten specially branded cars, adhering to the pandemic protocol. The participants followed five different itineraries around the state. The destinations included the Jatayu Earth Centre at Chadayamangalam in Kollam district, Thumboormuzhi Garden near Chalakudy in Thrissur district, Vazhachal, Athirappilly waterfalls near it and the Malakkapara hill-station in the area.
The travellers also experienced village life at Munroe Island (Kollam) and Nature walk along the bird sanctuary in Kumarakom (Kottayam) and a houseboat cruise there, besides visits to the Muziris Heritage project sites north of Kochi and a town walk through coastal Alappuzha. Other highlights were visits to the Punnamada lake, Marari beach, boating in the Periyar lake, Tea Museum in Idukki district, the dams at Kundala and Mattupetti and water sports at Cherai northwest of Kochi.