Blessed with an abundance of wildlife, Sri Lanka attracts a significant number of tourists every year visiting the island to experience the exotic creatures living in the stunning Natural Parks. The diverse wildlife spread across wet, dry and intermediate zones helps maintaining the natural balance in ecosystems while contributing to Sri Lankan economy at large. Ranked at top five among biodiversity hotspots in the world, Sri Lanka also has highest rates of biological endemism making it highly popular among wildlife enthusiasts, naturalists, environmentalists and curious travelers.
While it is time for physical distance to avoid the covid19 virus it may not necessarily be the time for brand distance. With the current decline in global tourism due to the pandemic, Sri Lanka Tourism promotion bureau is looking at innovative marketing strategies to be on top of the mind awareness among potential visitors once the conditions are conducive for them to visit the island. Streaming of personalized wild safari drives from four prominent National Parks of the island will let the viewers to experience wildlife from the comfort of home. “These are certain steps we have taken to be top of the mind and to avoid out of sight out of mind syndrome in world travel’’ said Ms. Kimarli Fernando chairperson of Srilanka Tourism.
"Being an avid wild life enthusiast, I am very happy that SLTBP is taking the initiative to publicize a series of video clips from the popular wild life parks of Sri Lanka online. This will showcase Sri Lanka's rich bio-diversity, and remind foreign visitors that nature and wild life is still thriving in Sri Lanka, amidst these challenging times. Tourists would be able to view these 'Couch Safaris' frm their own country even though they cannot visit Sri Lanka at this juncture
I am proud and happy to be associated with this effort which will be of great benefit for Sri Lanka tourism in the future" said MrSrilalMittapala, a wildlife expert who will be joining the safari drives as a commentator.
Each safari drive will last approximately three hours, narrated by fourprominent wildlife experts,DrPrithviraj Fernando, MrChitralJayatileka,MrSrilalMiththapala and Mr Vimukthi Weeratunge. Streaming will be starting on the 4th of November featuring evening safari drive at Minneriya National Park,then again on the 5th, moving toKaudulla National Park on the 8thNovember for another evening safari drive. The team will move to Udawalawa National Park on the 9th to stream the morning safari ride with the stunning setting of sunrise, evening safari will be streamed on the next day, 10th November. On the 11th and 12th of November, morning safari rides will be streamed from Yala and the event will conclude with the final stream of evening safari ride on the 13th November.
Minneriya and Kawudulla National Parks witness the most stunning natural phenomenon that takes place in the island this time of the year when close to 300 elephants gather to the reservoir to nibble on fresh grass and play in water. The first two episodes of safari will be capturing the elephant gathering with the hopes of seeing the youngest wild elephant twins in Asia as well. The third destination of the wild safari is Udawalawa National Park which boasts of number of wildlife including Sri Lanka’s big five, Elephants, Leopards, Water Buffalos, Sloth Bears, Mugger and Water Crocodiles and the final destination of the Couch Safari is the famous Yala National Park, famous for its high concentration of leopards.
In order to penetrate the message to the target audience Sri Lanka Tourism will carry out a campaign prior to the event. Several viral videos will be released to inform potential clients on digital and social media platforms. Streams will be promoted to a selected network globally through print, digital and social media prior to, during and post event highlighting the beauty and significance of Sri Lankan wildlife. The safaris will be streamed on dedicated streaming website and Apple TV, Roku, Periscopealso on Facebook and YouTube channels. The pre marketing campaign is already doing very well gaining lot of traction. Within the last week, the campaign has got approximately 3.5million post reach on FB, 750,000 video views on FB and YouTube making Sri Lanka visible both locally and internationally.
This attempt isexpected not only promote Sri Lankan tourism among the international travel communities, but also expected to bring attention to the stunning and rich biodiversity of Sri Lanka and the importance of preserving it.
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