Shehan Tahir and Shenelle Rodrigo are Lankan travel content creators best known for their travel series “This is Sri Lanka”, which has since evolved into a larger movement where the duo promote Sri Lanka to the world.
Since July 2020 – the lifting of the first lockdown – the two set out on a mission. Speaking to The Morning Brunch, Shehan shared that they decided that when we do come out of this pandemic, we are going to need all the help that we can get to put our beautiful island back on the map as a premiere travel location.
With this in mind, both Shehan and Shenelle began to reach out to hotels and iconic travel spots around the island to collaborate and collect an archive of footage. Since then, they’ve taken it upon themselves to change the online narrative and post positive travel content and help revive tourism in Sri Lanka.
Their efforts have proven fruitful, as this fresh post-Covid footage is certainly valuable content that has brought them a collaboration with Sri Lanka Tourism’s “So Sri Lanka” campaign as well, where they are contributors to Lanka’s official content for the Tourist Board.
The duo’s campaign for Sri Lanka tourism consists of their “This is Sri Lanka” campaign, their informative travel series that has gotten them a spot on national television, and since then, they’ve evolved their format to creating short promotional videos that can be easily shared across social media platforms, much like their more recent video announcing the opening of Sri Lanka’s airports.
This content has been getting an amazing response from their audience, receiving over 2,000 shares, including commendations from the Prime Minister, and recognition from the Tourism Minister and Minister of Youth Affairs, and approximately 500,000 views across social platforms.
Shehan stated that the goal here is to promote the island for what it has to offer, and so when the time comes, possibly six months from now, when tourists begin to travel once again, Sri Lanka will be their go-to destination; they would have already decided that this is where they want to go, and it will be at top-of-mind recall. He added that they hope to promote the kind of tourism that is the future; unlike the traditional method of an arrangement with an agent, travellers wish to do their own research. And with their content, he shared, they are laying the groundwork for those enthusiasts to find this content and make their decision.
He said that what they hope is for travellers to visit with plans for longer stays on the island, adding that there are many out there who wish to explore and discover those hidden locations in and around the country.
To graduate to the next step of their campaign, Shehan said that all that they need is the community’s support – for Lankans to share their content. In sharing this content they create, the duo are hopeful that the word gets out about our island.
Shehan also added that one thing that they’ve noticed in their journey is that something we lack is travel content that speaks to an international audience. “We have foreign travel influencers making content here, but we don’t have Sri Lankan English language content creators telling our story,” he said, adding that while we have brilliant sources in Sinhalese, the fact is that we have to appeal to the broader audience, which is why they hope to promote language-free content where they encourage content creators around the island to share their beautiful content that speaks to an audience without having to utter a single word.