USA Today reports that, high in Sri Lanka’s renowned Hill Country, tea plantations carpet vast acreages in waves of waxy green, pristine settings for the waves of tourists and visitors lapping the shores of our paradise island.

Tea is the key to much of former Ceylon’s character and USP, to use the marketing parlance. And as ‘unique sales propositions’ go, ours is pretty special, with everything a tourist could possibly want.

But it is here, “in these cool highland parts, that British colonialists sought refuge from lowland heat”, and where “neon green rice paddies end at the foot of the mountain, the steep ascent into hill country begins”.

The report describes how “one single camellia sinesis plant evolved a $1.5 billion export business — now, Sri Lanka fluctuates in status as the second to fourth leading tea producer globally.

“If you’ve ever steeped a Lipton’s bag in your hot water with lemon, you’ve likely drank Sri Lankan tea. Visitors to this region can tour factories, taste a range of brews and reside amidst the lush beauty of Sri Lanka’s fields.”

For tourists, the best sights and accommodations are in the Uva and Central Provinces around Ella and Nuwara Eliya, the town known as Little England “or, more dubiously, Switzerland of the East for its climate and colonial architecture”.

The report notes that without significant outside investment, most property construction remained on a small-scale, which gave rise to robust boutique hotel market.

But now, it concludes “foreign investors are banking on this island as the next big destination. Chinese-backed grand resort concepts are already underway in Colombo. Depending on your travel style, this may signal that now is the best time to go”.

Read the full report here.

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