In a keenly fought online contest, 25 of the world’s top travel bloggers from as many as 13 countries have been selected for a trip on board the ‘Kerala Blog Express’ organized by the state tourism department.
The winners of the online voting were announced by Kerala Tourism Minister Shri A P Anil Kumar at a news conference in the state capital on Wednesday, February 26.
The minister will flag off ‘Kerala Blog Express’, a luxury bus carrying the winners of the competition, from Thiruvananthapuram on March 10. The bus will travel along the length of Kerala from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod in a road trip lasting two weeks.
The highest number (four) of winners is from the United States, followed by three each from Brazil and the Philippines and two each from Germany, Spain and Indonesia. The remaining eight are from Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Poland, Italy and Portugal, including four from India.
The selected bloggers are all internationally renowned with a reputation of swaying travellers’ choices 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.
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 like 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 Great Backwaters of Kerala in Alappuzha and in Kumarakom, where the visitors are expected to get a first-hand experience of village life.
The Responsible Tourism project of Kerala Tourism in Kumarakom had recently won the United Nations World Tourism Organization Ulysses Prize for Innovation and Excellence.
The bloggers will also visit Kerala Kalamandalam where they will be introduced to the classic art forms of the state. Other destinations on their itinerary include Thekkady, Bekal fort, Fort Kochi and Mattancherry. They will also be introduced to the millennia-old traditional medicine of Ayurveda.
The bus will be equipped with cutting edge connectivity solutions throughout the journey to help them write and post about their experiences in real time.
The winners were chosen from over 600 entries from 80 countries. Netizens and fans of the contesting bloggers were given a chance to vote for their favourites on the www.keralablogexpress.com website. Since the launch of the competition last month, the website has had more than 200,000 visitors from about 150 countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Brazil, Malaysia, Denmark and France.
Rutavi Mehta is part of the Kerala Blog Express Lead Team and founder of PhotoKatha. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter
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