Having received over ten million combined social media reach in 2017, SLTPB Visiting Blogger Program continues to progress with aggressive social media promotion in 2018 by collaborating with the world’s top virtual travel influencers.
Sri Lanka Tourism invited a group of international travel bloggers & social media influencers from important source markets including France, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Australia and Ukraine recently, to visit Sri Lanka and place it on the global map.
One of the most popular bloggers among the group was Ireland’s Janet Newham, who blogs at ‘Journalist on the run’. Her most recent blog post about Sri Lanka featured the quote: “I never expected to find some of the most beautiful hotels in the world in this small, but perfectly formed South Asian nation.” Newham has travelled to over 80 countries around the world and has been awarded multiple international awards including: 2017 Digital Media Travel Journalist of the Year, 2017 Irish Travel Blogger of the Year, 2017 TBC Asia’s Upcoming Blogger.
Other influencers in the group included Karolina Coenen from ‘Around the globe’ (Netherlands), Laurane Philippot from ‘Web escapes SASU’ (France), and Nina Soentgerath from ‘Reisehappen.de’ (Germany).
The bloggers and social media influencers were carefully selected by SLTPB and were grouped based on their style of destination exploration and similarity in travel interests. The group included some of the world’s most renowned high profile international travel bloggers and Instagrammers. The visit of international travel bloggers group to Sri Lanka concluded in Colombo with networking sessions, organised with the collaboration of Mövenpick Hotel Colombo, where Tourism Development & Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga offered his profound gratitude to the bloggers as well as industry partners for the support given to promote Destination Sri Lanka within the popular virtual platforms.
On her blog ’Reisehappen.de’, Nina Soentgerath stated, ‘In the north of Sri Lanka, you will find the beautiful, still-undiscovered city of Jaffna. In Sri Lanka a civil war raged for a long time, which was particularly intense in the North of the country. The civil war only ended in 2009, and Jaffna has only been open to tourists for a few years now. Jaffna is therefore not as touristy as other places in Sri Lanka, and is therefore a must for people who want to see the real Sri Lanka.’
As part of SLTPB’s Blogger Familiarisation Tour, a group of popular Instagrammers also joined up to create a virtual holiday dream about Destination Sri Lanka within their active followers bases on Instagram, which is about 796,000.00 combined. The group included Stefano Ferro from Australia (with over 107K Instagram follower base), Loic Lagarde & Saul Aguilar from France, who are some of the most talented first generation Instagrammers. In fact, Lagarde was recognised as Best Travel Blogger on Instagram for Harper’s Bazaar and one of the Top 25 Flickr in the world during 2017, 2016 and 2015.
Another key promotional objective of Sri Lanka Tourism is to popularise ‘emerging attractions’ which has been given priority as an important focus area. In this regard, the group of travel bloggers went to the Northern capital, Jaffna, to explore nature, culture, wildlife and most importantly to witness post-war progress made by both locals and the region. As part of the destination exploration, the travel bloggers visited many cultural and historical sites and took the opportunity of engaging with the local life in agriculture and fishery industry in Jaffna.
Apart from Northern exploration, the bloggers were further taken to tourism areas, attractions, and activities that the inbound tourism industry expected to further grow and establish, including Anuradhapura, Kaudulla National Park, Parawiyan Ella at Badalkumbura, Uva Province, Ayurveda, Meditation, etc. The island exploration ended for the bloggers at the calm Southern sea by taking part in whale watching in Mirissa and witnessing a range of whales including the Blue Whale.
SLTPB expects these promotions will increase global awareness on the Northern capital, Jaffna, as a rising tourism destination, and create more direct and indirect financial opportunities for the locals via the growing number of tourist arrivals. Furthermore, Sri Lanka Tourism expects that initiating such projects will operate as a bridge towards ethnic harmony and progress as one nation.
During the year 2017, SLTPB Bloggers Program gathered over 10 million social media engagement for the content created by travel bloggers and social media influencers who visited the country. Some of the most creative content been featured in popular social media pages such as the National Geographic Travel Facebook page, UNILAD Adventure Facebook page and Beautiful Destinations Instagram page and went viral by reaching to over 5 million of their combined followers.