President tours Pekoe Trail; explores opportunities to boost tourism along Central Highlands

Wednesday, 17 April 2024 03:23 –      – 51

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe with Miguel Cunat the visionary behind the Pekoe Trail during their tour over the weekend

  •  Highlights significance of Ceylon Tea in tourism industry, insists on offering Pekoe Trail tourists chance to savour freshly brewed cuppa
  • Plans underway to further develop 22 stages trail, enhancing it with necessary facilities to ensure seamless, immersive experience for visitors
  • Pekoe Trail brainchild Miguel Cunat expresses optimism about Sri Lanka›s potential as premier hiking destination globally

President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited Nuwara Eliya to explore tourism opportunities, particularly along the Pekoe Trail.

The trail, spanning over 300 km through Sri Lanka›s Central Highlands, holds historical significance from the colonial era. During his visit, the President engaged with workers and emphasised the importance of tourism development.

Highlighting the significance of Ceylon Tea in the tourism industry, the President underscored the importance of offering Pekoe Trail tourists the chance to savour freshly brewed cuppa. He also explored avenues to boost tourism in Sri Lanka›s Central Highlands by leveraging the Pekoe Trail.

Wickremesinghe embarked on a journey to Court Lodge Estate, owned by the Udupusellawa Plantation Company, situated in Nuwara Eliya, on 16 April and the purpose of his visit was to explore opportunities for revitalise the tourism industry in the scenic hills, with a special focus on the renowned Pekoe Trail.

The 300 km Pekoe Trail is renowned as one of Asia›s best-kept secret routes. Originating from Kandy and traversing southward towards Hatton and Horton Plains National Park, then east through Haputale and Ella, before enveloping the picturesque town of Nuwara Eliya, the trail holds historical significance as a colonial-era tea transportation route.

During his 3.2-kilometer walk along the Pekoe Trail, President Wickremesinghe engaged in friendly conversations with the workers at Court Lodge estate.

Wickremesinghe personally inspected the fundamental requirements of the plantation workers, addressing issues related to education, healthcare and housing. He particularly focused on the prospects of the children within the plantation workers’ community, especially those set to complete their schooling after the G.C.E. Advanced level examination.

The Court Lodge estate, managed by Browns Plantations, covers 264 hectares and employs 349 workers. The factory at Court Lodge is known for producing “Light Bright” tea.

Miguel Cunat, the visionary behind the Pekoe Trail expedition, expressed optimism about Sri Lanka›s potential as a premier hiking destination globally.

The trail offers tourists a unique opportunity to explore diverse terrains, delve into the region›s rich history, engage with vibrant culture and enjoy authentic local cuisine and beverages.

Comprising 22 stages, the Pekoe Trail can be tailored to suit one-day or multi-day excursions, catering to a range of preferences. Plans are underway to further develop the trail, enhancing it with necessary facilities to ensure a seamless and immersive experience for visitors.

Supported by the European Union (EU) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Pekoe Trail project aligns with Sri Lanka›s national tourism strategies.

The initiative aims to draw a new wave of tourism, including adventure seekers while improving the livelihoods of rural communities.

Cunat expressed gratitude to President Wickremesinghe for his support in initiating the Pekoe Trail, praising the President›s vision to revitalise the country›s economy through tourism transformation.