‘Couch Safari,’ Sri Lanka Tourism’s virtual adventure, gains popularity among international travellers

Wednesday, 11 November 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando  

Sri Lanka Tourism’s novel initiative to promote the island through a concept branded as ‘Go on a Couch Safari’ covering wildlife live streams from country’s most popular national parks has gathered tremendous interest and enthusiasm from travellers. 

First episodes covering Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks has created over 100,000 impressions on social media and close to 800 comments from both local and international travellers.

“We have had great response from viewers, and the engagement is very high. There is such a latent demand for wild life in the island and this shows the necessity of promoting Sri Lanka’s wildlife to the world. We have received large number of requests for the proposed competition too. We request all Sri Lankans to share this link with overseas friends and business partners to further amplify the reach,” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando said. 

Streaming was not limited to Facebook and YouTube, the live stream was also shared simultaneously on leading streaming channels in the world such as Roku TV, Apple TV and Periscope to make it easier for international audience around the world. 

Fernando thanked the Wildlife Department, Archaeology Depar-tment, Central Cultural Fund, Civil Aviation Authority, Defence Secretary, and the Police for their continued support to Sri Lanka Tourism. 

The COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions resulted in cancelling travel plans and confining the world at large to their homes, in this background Sri Lanka Tourism initiated a novel concept to promote its tropical wildlife in to the living rooms of travellers from around the world with the help of live streaming technique and digital media. 

The safari drives broadcasted from four popular National Parks of Sri Lanka let viewers have a sneak peak in to the lives of majestic beasts of the paradise island without leaving their home. The show is unscripted and unpredictable, as exciting as it gets with the narrations from prominent wildlife experts explaining the events as they occur; with the ability to choose between sunrise and sunset safaris from each National Park to interact with our safari hosts and have questions answered in real time. 


Great Elephant Gathering in Minneriya and Kaudulla

After a successful streaming session broadcasted from Minneriya National Park, our team of videographers learnt that the elephants are moving to Kaudulla National Park with the arrival of monsoon. 

So along with the experts they drove to Kaudulla National Park, and were immediately greeted by bunch of Purple Faced Leaf Monkeys, considered endangered and endemic to Sri Lanka while a group of barking deer passed curious looks at the safari Jeep. 

A large flock of Painted Storks in the reservoir that seemed grateful for first rains of monsoon was setting the stage for the most stunning natural phenomena of the Asia while a family of Chestnut Headed Bee Eaters and Brownfish Owls and some others were watching from nearby trees. 

As hundreds of elephants gather to manmade reservoirs in Kaudulla National Park, the viewers were given a first-hand experience to watch them playing in water and enjoying fresh grass. Day two in Kaudulla was as delightful with sightings of reptiles, Serpent Eagle, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Brownfish Owl and herds of Elephants walking towards the safari Jeep. 

Observing behaviour of female Elephants and cubs in herds mingling with solitary male Elephants up close while sitting in their couch was an amazing experience to the viewers who joined the streaming session from all over the world. The experts answered questions in real time while sharing a wealth of knowledge on Wildlife of Sri Lanka including Sri Lankan Elephant endemic to the island and explained the complexity of Human-Elephant conflict as well. 


Up close and personal with the residents of Udawalawa and Yala 

The team will spend two days in Udawalawa National Park and another three days streaming from Yala National Park. Apart from key stone species popular among wildlife enthusiasts, these two parks are home to number of other flora and fauna essential to maintain natural balance of the island’s ecosystem. 

Known as one of highest leopard densities in the world, Yala National Park is located in South East of Sri Lanka bordering panoramic Indian Ocean and is home to 44 varieties of mammal and 215 bird species. With the aerial view from drone cameras and informative comments from the experts, these broadcasts too will not only be enjoyable but educational for viewers of all age groups. 


My Sri Lankan Story 

Partnering up with some of the leading hotel chains, Sri Lanka Tourism launched a competition for foreign viewers to win a getaway in Sri Lanka. The participants are asked to share a holiday photo from Sri Lanka on their Facebook/Instagram account with a short, creative description before 13 November to be eligible for the giveaway. 

The winners will be chosen from the emails sent with screenshots of the posts to wildli[email protected] with the subject My SriLankan Story.