Share Your Wanderlust Photos of Sri Lanka — It’s Not Shallow

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The tragedy that unfolded in Sri Lanka last Sunday was completely and utterly devastating. As a born and raised Catholic whose favourite time on the liturgical calendar is Easter, I was particularly moved as the freedom to visit my place of worship safely is so important to me. I was even more distraught to find out this was in response to the Christchurch massacre. I find Islam to be a beautiful and peaceful religion and I have the utmost respect for the followers of that religion. To know there is such abhorrent destruction of people’s lives around what is meant to be a religion to promote peace and the word of Allah makes me feel incredibly sad.

Of course, the series of blasts in Sri Lanka made its way to social media quite rapidly. I was rather disappointed when I saw a few posts from people making fun of Instagrammers sharing their travel photos to Sri Lanka in the wake of the terrorist attack with the hashtag #PrayForSriLanka. Some people were talking bout how shallow, self-centred and disrespectful these people are.

I have not had the opportunity to travel to Sri Lanka unfortunately, so I was not able to share any wanderlust photos of me trekking what I have seen to be a beautiful country.

Sri Lanka’s rather recent history has been plagued with civil war. In the last few years, tourism has increased rather rapidly, which has been able to stimulate the economy of this country which has been working diligently since the civil war to lift its population out of extreme poverty. Sri Lanka now has one of the lowest levels of extreme poverty in the region.

However, the Sri Lankan economy must now prepare for a significant drop in tourist dollars after the events that unfolded on Easter Sunday. Tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the nation’s economy, which is still in the lower half of the world’s countries when it comes to GDP per capita. It employs over a million of the country’s population and has been vital in economic recovery from almost thirty years of civil war.

On the SmartTraveller website, the Australian government has recommended Australian travellers reconsider their need to travel to the island nation.

Instagrammers sharing their travel photos of Sri Lanka could actually be doing the Sri Lankan economy a great deal of good. Those wanderlust photos of Sri Lanka encourage other adventurers to visit the country and see what it has to offer. Of course, while now is not a safe time to travel there, travellers who are interested in visiting will be keeping an eye out for when it could be safe to travel.

Social media has created a complete revolution in the economy, in the society and in the natural environment. The rest of the world is becoming more and more accessible to us, and we should be looking wherever possible to promote opportunities for economic, social and environmental growth and development towards a sustainable future. By sharing photos which encourage people to experience the beauty that is Sri Lanka, we may seem the tourism economy recovery more quickly than what is predicted.

We cannot underestimate the power of our social media posts. We can create powerful change among our following from just one post. The beautiful thing about social media is really the ripple effect and how quickly words can spread. Yes, this is a double-edged sword as negative messaging can sometimes spread rapidly also. But if we are able to harness our channels for good and focus on creating content around improving the lives of others, we can create a more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for all.

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