Thiruvananthapuram: Travelling across Kerala and imbibing the spirit of all that God’s Own Country offered, thirty bloggers from across the world concluded their jaunt undertaken as part of the much spoken about Kerala Blog Express in Kochi today.

The Kerala Blog Express, which came to a close today, provided an experience like never before for the bloggers, who would now post their experiences of the state on social media space for holidayers looking forward to a trip to Kerala. With the conclusion of the Fifth Edition of Kerala Blog Express in Kochi, the Kerala’s Tourism sponsored ‘Trip of a Lifetime’ has achieved all that was intended through this unique mode of destination marketing.

The Kerala Blog Express which set off on a two-week-long journey after being flagged off by Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, Cooperation and Devaswoms, the team went around the state capital and witnessed history etched in places like the famed Kuthiramalika palace and the Padmanabhaswamy temple.

Members of the Kerala Blog Express Team taking part in the Responsible Tourism Village Life Experience tour in Kumarakom.

After spending time at the globally renowned beach destination of Kovalam, they continued with their journey towards Alappuzha where they experienced the backwaters with a stay in houseboats. A trip around the model Responsible Tourism villages in and around Kumarakom proved to be an experience of a lifetime for the bloggers who took keen interest in getting to know more about Kerala’s successful implementation of its responsible tourism initiatives that had local community friendly as well as nature friendly tourism measures at its centre.

Moving ahead from Alappuzha, the Kerala Blog Express had a brief halt at Kochi, where the bloggers indulged themselves in the experience of a Muziris Heritage site visit, travelling to Paliyam Palace, and the Chendamangalam Synagogue. The bloggers also had a riveting experience by opting for a country boat ride in Kochi’s backwaters.

Travelling further north, the bloggers set foot in Munnar, the picturesque hill station that is considered the pride of Kerala. In Munnar, they were treated to a variety of cultural events and visits to the tea estates and tea factory there. From Munnar, the Kerala Blog Express chugged on to Kerala’s cultural capital Thrissur and had their fill of the experience that the Chathakudam Temple Pooram offered to them.

Travelling further to Kozhikode, the bloggers had the chance to partake of the experience that the martial arts offered at the famed C V N Kalari. They explored Kozhikode’s sweetmeat lane (Mithayi Theruvu) in local autorickshaws. They were also entertained by the wall paintings organised by ‘Compassionate Kozhikode’, after which they visited the Beypore Shipyard before settling down for lunch after a hectic noon.

A visit to the Ezhuthupara and a ‎rappeling adventure made the Kerala Blog Express’s Wayanad jaunt meaningful, after which they travelled to Kannur and indulged themselves in a kayaking session at Dharmadom. A visit to the Muzhipilangad beach and a session of quad biking was completed before walking into the St Angelo’s Fort in Kannur.

Further north, the arrival in Kasaragod opened before the bloggers a boat ride across Valiyaparamba backwaters. The Kasargod leg of the trip was complete with a Muthappan temple theyyam recital, and sightseeing at Bekal Fort and its surrounding areas.

The 30 bloggers took a train to Kochi as they reached the final leg of the two-week-long trip. After meeting with the press on March 31, they continued with their sightseeing itinerary in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry on April 1, the last day of the tour. A farewell meal was arranged for the bloggers at the Marari Beach, after which they would take off to their respective homelands on April 2.

Members of the Kerala Blog Express Team in Wayanad

The bloggers from countries such as the US, the UK, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Romania, Venezuela and Peru had embarked on the two-week long journey across the state, which provided them with much fodder to document their experiences in Kerala so that the travelers who look forward to travelling to the state could benefit from.

Throughout the two-week-long trip, multiple Live Videos and pictures were shared to a wide audience on a day-to-day basis via Kerala Tourism’s Facebook page, which has garnered 15 lakh followers so far. Bloggers also shared snippets of their every day experiences in Kerala though their social media handles such as Instagram and Twitter, thus reaching millions of their followers from every corner of the world over the course of their journey. The fourth edition of Blog Express, last year, was able to generate around 400 blogs and similar social media content, the results of which can been seen in the sizeable increase in tourist arrivals to the State in 2017.

For Kerala Tourism, the fifth edition of Kerala Blog Express provided much scope in its efforts at destination marketing. The blogs and documentaries uploaded by the bloggers are expected to take Kerala’s fame beyond all that has been achieved hitherto in terms of tourism marketing.

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By Manoj

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