Spanish football star Puyol fuels Facebook fervor for Sri Lanka

Spain’s World Cup-winning football star Carles Puyol, who was holidaying along Sri Lanka’s south coast, has garnered 1,051,138 views, 63,690 likes and 1177 shares on his Facebook page as of yesterday for a photo and video he posted of local wildlife.

Sri Lanka Tourism said the Facebook popularity surrounding Puyol’s posts of a video of a whale in Mirissa and elephant at the Udawalawe National Park offered a boost for Sri Lankan tourism by conveying the country’s key attributes to over a million people in just 24 hours.
They stated that Facebook created not just awareness but also led to conversation and to prospective travellers moving down the purchasing process and getting closer to booking a holiday to the country. The country’s Tourism Promotion Bureau said this was a new trend in consumer behaviour that Sri Lanka had to master and secure as a best practice.

The failure to do so would result in the same lost opportunity as was created in 2014 when 23.2 million people googled Sri Lanka but were unable to deliver on this figure, stalling at roughly 1.5 million travellers, a figure Tourism Promotion Chief Rohantha Athukorala said was not healthy.

Official figures show that March arrivals from Spain were at 1,148, registering a growth of 103.5% and cumulatively growth of 59%, Athukorala said, adding: “We must now develop on this with digital marketing activations even though Spain is not a top 15 country for Sri Lanka and we don’t do any ground activations like travel fair participation.”
Puyol won his first cap for Spain in November 2000 against the Netherlands and went on to become one of the top defenders the world has seen. He played for Spain at the 2000 Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2004, 2006 World Cup, Euro 2008, 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2010 World Cup where he scored the goal against Germany in the semifinal which secured his country a World Cup Final berth.
Before his outstanding performance as an athlete on the global stage, in 1999 Puyol made his debut for Barcelona where he became a crucial member of the team before leading it from the 2004 season onwards.
From 1999 to 2014 Puyol played around 700 matches for Barcelona, scored 24 goals and won numerous trophies with the club, feats which firmly established him as a Barcelona legend.

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