Kerala tourism to hardsell backwaters

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 24 (IANS) Kerala Tourism proposes to launch a new global campaign aiming to catapult the state's majestic backwaters in the league of the Grand Canyon and the Great Wall of China as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Voted ahead of Taj Mahal in a National Geographic Traveller survey of top Indian tourism destinations, the backwaters of Kerala will be unveiled as a self-contained experience in the campaign shot using advanced aerial photography techniques.

The great backwaters campaign, the first of its kind, features high quality aerial photographs of the area. It is also one of the largest aerial still photography projects undertaken by the state.

"The backwaters of Kerala are not about houseboats alone but it is about discovering a fascinating water world unlike any other place on our planet," said Kerala Tourism Minister A.P. Anilkumar.

"Many countries are bestowed with large reserves of water, but there is none as gifted as Kerala. It is a place of astounding visual beauty, abundant flora and fauna and a vibrant cultural life," he added.

The unique images of the backwaters were captured by advanced cameras secured in a highly sophisticated and custom-designed eight-rotor helicam. The aerial shoot was controlled from a customized boat equipped with a miniature helipad to facilitate the take off and landing of the helicam.

The locations were identified during an aerial observation by helicopters prior to the photo session.

"Kerala is blessed with 44 rivers and a network of canals and lakes stretching from one end to the other. Here the primordial relationship between mankind and water comes alive like nowhere else. Whether it is the canal networks, floating markets, houseboats, snake boat races or a whole way of life that thrives around water, this is a miracle of nature that will captivate the world," said Kerala Tourism secretary Suman Billa.

The 25-member crew which shot across the backwaters was led by renowned aerial photographer Ville M.J. Hyvonen from Finland and Shelton Pinheiro, creative director, Stark Communications.

The Great Backwaters campaign will include digital marketing activities which will also see the launch of a separate micro-site at www.greatbackwaters.com.

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