‘Sri Lanka is safe, and still a fun country to visit’: Foriegn travel bloggers and journalists to promote Sri Lanka
The Visiting Travel Blogger and Journalist Programme is an annual project which Sri Lanka Tourism hosts in order to diversify and spread the visitation of foreign travellers and also generate income for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Sri Lanka.
Speaking to Visiting Travel Blogger and Journalist Programme Assistant Director PR Specialist Chaminda Munasinghe, he explained that the programme will bring down travel bloggers and travel journalists to promote Sri Lanka through their social media. “We want to offer them a unique experience of Sri Lanka by promoting lesser known areas of the country like Jaffna Peninsula, Pidurangala, Wilpattu, Riverstone-Matale, and more to offer experience-driven opportunities and diversity which will be created and added to a visitor’s expedition in Sri Lanka as opposed to the usual tourist destinations like Kandy, Sirgiriya, and Yala.” He further added that most travellers are now looking for unique experience-based options which Sri Lanka is able to provide with the support of the rapidly increasing MSMEs.
The ongoing theme of the programme “So Sri Lanka” was used to provide travellers a lasting taste of the authentic Sri Lankan life; from authentic local food, nature, rich cultural values to lifestyle. The project invites over 60-100 travel journalists a year and about 50-60 travel influencers a year. For this year, they brought down a renowned culinary travel influencer by the name Luke Martin, who they hope will showcase how welcoming Sri Lanka is as a country and how our bio bubble functions. They have some interesting activities and adventures in store for the visiting travel influencer that Munasinghe added he doesn’t wish to reveal as of yet, but he assured us that Luke Martin will have the experience of a lifetime. “Sri Lanka is safe and still a fun country to visit. We will keep to all the regulations and still provide Martin with a mind-blowing experience of our hospitable country.”
Despite wanting to keep the experiences plan under wraps, Munasinghe added that they have prepared various themed events for Martin in order to showcase how dynamic our bio bubble is. “So if global travellers are looking to travel during the pandemic period, we will showcase the complete bio bubble experience, explaining how easy and well planned this system initiated by the Sri Lankan Government is.” As he is a culinary travel influencer, and Sri Lanka is famous for our authentic snacks and cuisines, he will also be granted the delightful experience of a culinary demonstration, which Munasinghe added that he is sure Martin will enjoy. Martin will also be given the opportunity to visit our local tribes and indegenous people and will be shown how their cuisine is prepared from scratch and how nutritious Lankan cooking really is. “We will take him to various parts of the country and show him how diverse our food is despite Sri Lanka being a small island.”
Munasinghe further commented that since Martin is Canadian and they are yet to receive the vaccine, he will go through the regulated 14-day quarantine period, so Sri Lankan citizens are safe as well. “From there, we will show him how normal the situation in Sri Lanka is, and how our community is coping with the Covid situation. We want him to see that in Sri Lanka, people don’t avoid tourists; they are very welcome in our country.” Martin will also be given the chance to engage with the local community, which is a core factor in him understanding how the country works, and being able to promote tourism better.
Last year, before Covid struck, they invited ITV UK, which is an immensely popular news channel in the UK, where they did a few live stream programmes, along with culinary demonstrations for their daily morning show.
The purpose of this programme is to influence global travellers. Munasinghe concluded: “The information anyone abroad receives from their mobiles or television are all influenced by the social media archives. This is all to promote Sri Lanka as the perfect and safe holiday destination for travellers.”