Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga’s visit to Quanzhou , China, promoted a reciprocal visit from the Chinese company, The Boarding Mountain Travel Company ( BMTC ) situated in Quanzhou, Fujian Province.
Officials of this company were in Colombo last week, invited by the minister to further cement ties for increased visitor influx from Quanzhou to enhance Chinese traveler arrivals to Sri Lanka.
Apart from BMTC’s travel interests, the company also owns 21 tea shops in various parts of China.
In this instance, unification of tourism and tea was perhaps an unavoidable condition to Sri Lanka being on the international travel map. Luring of tourists to the island to experience the wide diversity of terrain and weather within the relatively small area of 64, 000 sq kilometers of land, was an outstanding feature, said Minister John Amaratunga in a short presentation welcoming guests from China.
Considering the visit of representatives of BMTC he said, the image built for tourism simultaneously enhanced business interests. He added this visit would also boost interests in tea as the company had about 21 tea shops in locations accessible to many in China.
He said this visit would promote greater interest in Sri Lanka from the Fujian Province and engender enthusiasm among the Chinese people so much so that Sri Lanka’s diversity would be an good reason for tourists from China to visit, more often.
Distinguished guests from China to Sri Lanka, included Princess Xu Shi Yine , who is a descendent of King Parakramabahu VI of Kotte, and Ji Huaichang, Head of the Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Academy, who is the Great,-Great grandson of Ji Xiaolon of the Qing Dynasty, who was Prime Minister of China 1724 – 1805.
Director, Asia Siyaka, Tea Brokers , Dhammika Wadenda, brokers for New Vidanakanda, Tea, owned by Navaratne Pilapitiya, said the delegation would visit New Vidanakanda Tea factory the following day, to assess its value to the tea industry in Sri Lanka. The factory was one of few who produce 1.8 million kilos tea each year and was a repeating award winner in tea competitions. The factory handles 24,000 kilos of green leaf each day. The factory makes a special grade of ta, Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings Extra Special, which is a premium grade commanding specialized markets.
“China gave the world tea. But the British made tea a valuable beverage, currently drunk world wide. tea is the most drunk beverage next to water. ”
He said Ceylon Tea and its impact on the world market was significant. Visit of the delegation to New Vidanakanda was important mainly because the company was in a strong position to promote Ceylon Tea within their tea houses throughout China.
CEO of the famous Boarding Mountain Cafes, Wu Mi Fino, said the bond between Sri Lanka and China goes back at least 600 years. In consequence the sustained relationshipin bilateral ties continued uninterrupted over these many years, and stemming from the minster’s recent visit to China what was already established would now be strengthened. More appropriately, Ceylon Tea being the world brand it is, will see positive support in tea houses in China and will be branded Ceylon no. 8.
Local representatives for BMTC, Sri Lanka Voyagers ( Pvt.,) ;Ltd.,CEO Shiranthi Haputantri, said partnership with BMTC was mutually advantageous to Sri Lanka and China because of enhanced travel expectations from China and the influx of tourists expected in the short term. BMTC will also operate charter flights from Fugian Province to Sri Lanka.
The agreement was signed by BMTC and Voyagers Pvt, Ltd.
Source : THE ISLAND