Last year TBEX Asia took place in Thailand and one of my Blogger Friends, Mariellen Ward was presenting there. During her research, she approached some of the travel bloggers from India and I was one of them. I also thought of sharing all my responses here on my blog and would love to hear your opinions through comments -
A) Please write a short bio about you / your blog / your company. Bloggers: include blog name and link, social media platforms, niche or area of specialty
Hi, I am VJ Sharma and blogging since 2008 at www.Travelingcamera.com. My passion for Travel & Photography drove me to start this blog, where I used to share my learning, experiences and guides from my trips & photography assignments. Gradually this blog is liked by friends, family and helped me gain good amount of followers. Now I blog everyday and have good engagement at –
1. Who in India do you think is doing a good job to promote travel & tourism online (please give specific examples):
a. brands, companies, hotels, resorts, airlines
b. destinations and tourism boards
c. travel bloggers, writers, photographers, videographers
d. blogging organizations (such as IndiBlogger, BlogAdda, BlogMint)
VJ: Most inspiring stuff is happening through individuals and the power of social media. Digital Photography has enabled every traveller to share their photographs on social media which in turn inspires lot of folks to travel to those destinations. I am talking about promotions within India. Apart from that, Bollywood movies are very inspiring to inspire. Places like Goa, Leh, Kerala are popular because of movies and smaller destinations like Palampur, Kasauli, Mussourie are also known to many through Bollywood movies. Blogging community is helping in discovering new destinations. There are lot of new places which are introduced by bloggers.
2. What do you think can be done online to increase both India's reputation as a tourist destination and the numbers of inbound tourists who visit India? Can travel bloggers play a role?
VJ: We should encourage travellers to keep our places clean and make them feel responsible. Green travel is most important need of India. Travellingcamera.com has taken an initiative wherein we try to collaborate with local communities, NGOs, hotels to do a cleanliness drive whenever we plan to travel. Some time, we get good response and at times all our offers are rejected. I pledge to focus more on these activities. I expose my readers to lot of least known places in hills and I feel responsible if they become dirty places like many Indian tourist destinations. So I need to think twice before introducing a place to people.
3. What changes would you like to see in India to help travel bloggers improve, gain visibility and make a living from professional travel blogging?
VJS: Travel bloggers, especially the ones who are known and well established, need to take a strong stand against free associations. It’s important for blogger community to unite and value their skills & reputation they have built as influencers. And use their influence for right things and at right value.
1. What do you think the biggest challenges travel bloggers face in India in terms of the following:
a. Improving skills
b. Gaining exposure
c. Becoming professional and getting paid
VJS: Becoming professional and getting paid is huge challenge in India. Since there are so many options, many brands also settle for lower quality. Of course, everyone has different budget and skill-set, but general tendency of getting things done for free is harmful. PR agencies also play a lot around the same fact. I have had various discussion with PR folks, where PR firms strongly feel that things can be get done without paying. Goodies or some sponsored trips can do the job. I have also done the same in past and feel responsible for the same.
2. What do you think are the biggest opportunities available for travel bloggers who:
a. Want to improve their skills
b. Want to become known for their work
c. Want to become professionals and get paid to write, blog, take photos and videos?
VJS: Quality content is still in demand by various publishing companies. If you write well or photograph brilliantly, you can get good work. But mostly driven by your core skill or writing or photographing and not as blogging. E.g. – I take photography assignments, which pay me much more than blogging assignments.
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