President Embarks on Observation Tour to Revitalize Tourism Industry in Scenic Nuwara Eliya

  • Emphasis on Developing “Pekoe Trail” to Enhance Tourist Experience in Central Highlands.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited the Court Lodge Estate, owned by the Udupusellawa Plantation Company in Nuwara Eliya (16) to explore opportunities for the revival of the tourism industry around the picturesque hills of Nuwara Eliya. Notably, the President embarked on this journey by traversing the Pekoe Trail.

The “Pekoe Trail” spans 300+ km through the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka, regarded as one of Asia’s best-kept secret routes. Originating from the renowned city of Kandy, it extends south towards the Hatton and Horton Plains National Park, then east through Haputale and Ella, before meandering around the charming town of Nuwara Eliya. Originally constructed during the British colonial period to transport tea from vast plantations to factories, the trail holds historical significance.

During his walk along the Pekoe Trail covering a distance of 3.2 km, the President engaged in friendly conversation with the workers employed at the Court Lodge estate. Welcoming the President warmly, the people expressed their heartfelt wishes for a joyous Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

The Court Lodge estate, overseen by Browns Plantations, spans 264 hectares and employs a total of 349 workers. During his visit, President Ranil 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 factory at Court Lodge is known for producing “Light Bright” tea.

During his tour, President Ranil Wickremesinghe also emphasized the importance of providing Pekoe Trail tourists with the opportunity to savour a freshly brewed cup of tea. Furthermore, he explored avenues to bolster the tourism industry associated with Sri Lanka’s central highlands by leveraging the Pekoe Trail.

Mr. Miguel Cunat, the visionary behind the Pekoe Trail expedition, who has extensively explored the central mountains of Sri Lanka over the years, expressed his belief that Sri Lanka can be mapped internationally as one of the premier hiking destinations globally.

Pekoe Trail offers tourists a unique opportunity to explore a variety of terrains, delve into the region’s storied history, engage with its vibrant culture and savour 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 enjoyable experience for visitors.

The European Union (EU) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have extended their support to the Pekoe Trail project, aligning with Sri Lanka’s national tourism strategies. The initiative encompasses various aspects, including sustainable environmental development, to foster the growth of tourism in the country.

The goal of the Pekoe Trail project is to draw in a new wave of tourism, including adventure seekers, to Sri Lanka while simultaneously improving the livelihoods of rural communities. Mr. Miguel Cunat conveyed his appreciation to President Ranil Wickremesinghe for the support provided in initiating the Pekoe Trail and commended the President’s vision to revitalize the country’s economy by transforming the tourism industry.