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Vloggers, the in thing for tourism

Kajal Grant-Hindocha
Saturday, July 19, 2014

TOURISM is one of Fiji's most bustling industries with people coming from all over the world to experience the beautiful beaches and hot weather that Fiji has to offer.

With 320 islands to explore and the climate always staying between 26-31 degrees, Fiji is the ideal place to visit.

"The most recent provisional visitor arrival stats released by the Fiji Bureau of Statistics show that in the first five months of 2014, 244,890 visitors have come to Fiji. This is the most visitors in the first five months of any of the past four years," Tourism Fiji acting CEO Ken Freer said.

However, Fiji is not just hot weather and beautiful beaches. There is something for every type of traveller.

"It just seemed like one of those far away fantasy lands that many travellers overlook. Most travellers would go to Australia or New Zealand before Fiji, and I wanted to show that Fiji is more than nice beaches and beautiful water. There is so much to experience" Kristen Sarah, a travel video blogger told The Fiji Times.

Ms Sarah is one of the many creators making video content for the globally renowned website YouTube, and is called a "vlogger" which is a shortened term used for video bloggers.

Recently, she and three other vloggers were given the opportunity to go to Fiji for independent Travel Week and experience a wide range of activities and sights in Fiji.

"Their videos have received over 860,000 views on YouTube. Vloggers are hugely popular in travel marketing," Mr Freer said.

Viewers will tend to trust vloggers such as Ms Sarah more than other travel sites as the experience she relays is more authentic.

"Nothing sells travel like video. Video gives the prospective traveller a level of detail about a destination that can't be achieved by a photo or words in a brochure. One of the great things about vloggers is that they provide a natural and authentic experience.

"It's not about the slick production values one would get from a resort's professionally produced video."

YouTube has come very far over the past few years, to the point where people such as Ms Sarah get to travel all the way around the world as their job.

"People are turning to YouTube for their personal entertainment instead of the television more and more. On YouTube there is a channel for everything, so viewers can search specifically for what interests them," Ms Sarah said.

Ms Sarah started out writing a personal blog called "HopscotchtheGlobe.com" as a way to keep her friends and family involved in what she was doing. The blog started to grow and all of a sudden, people had been emailing her from all around the world telling her that she inspired them.

Since then, Ms Sarah viewer base has continued to grow, viewers trust her opinions and thoughts and take them into consideration when planning their own travels.

"It's been a lot of hard work, passion, perseverance, dedication and many, many hours to get to where I am today. I've gotten so many incredible opportunities because of what I do. The harder you work and the longer you persist, the further you will go."








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