Tea Diplomacy: A new initiative undertaken in Bangladesh by the Sri Lanka High Commission

Source:Island

A novel outreach initiative was introduced by the Sri Lanka High Commission in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In face of the pandemic lockdown restrictions, the Mission made use of the opportunity publicized by the Tea Board. High Commissioner Professor Seneviratne described the initiative he took, riding on the May 21st Tea Day recognized by the UN.

Due to the low level of investments and interactions during the lockdown restrictions, The High Commissioner strategized a programme reaching out to all foreign diplomatic Missions, International Organisations, High-end corporate sectors, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangladesh. He crafted an informative letter, based on the Tea Board pamphlet. Along with the letter, nicely packed boxes of Ceylon Tea (of the Tea Board) and Mabroc Tea caskets (of Hayleys PLC) were distributed to a wide group of high-end recipients. A variety of tea boxes were sent with a letter from the High Commissioner personally addressed to each recipient. 

Tea Diplomacy also shared goodwill extended to our friends and well-wishers reaching out to them as a cultured message from Sri Lanka “the land of hospitality”. The responses and acknowledgments we had (yet coming in as this is written) reflects the crowning success of the exercise of Tea Diplomacy.  Along with warm responsive messages thanking the Mission, almost all noted a high appreciation of Ceylon Tea and tastefully done packaging and presentation.

The Next level: A Tea Boutique and One-stop-shop

The High Commissioner is also planning a move to the next level of popularizing Sri Lanka. He has mooted another novel concept of a Tea Boutique in Dhaka. This was originally suggested during the visit of the Hon. Prime Minister in March 2021 at the Banglabandu and National Day Celebrations. The idea was suggested to the PM and Minister Dayasiri Jayasekare, who were very supportive of the idea.

This concept carries the setting up of a High-End Tea Boutique in Dhaka, as a Tea Centre attracting up-market spenders in Dhaka. It will be a place of convergence. It will carry all brands of tea + a tea restaurant and also gems, spices, batik, eco-friendly nature products, and other luxury items including tourism. It is seen as a one-stop-shop for exotic Sri Lankan products. This is part of an action plan to activate way forward as a post-pandemic initiative. The Tea Board in principle is agreeable to support this venture and the concept was “positively considered by the Sri Lanka Tea Board. Accordingly, we would like to promote Ceylon Tea exporters to join this project”. The Mission now is exploring the logistics of setting up this project.

Popularizing exotic Sri Lankan products to a high-end market

The High Commission in now exploring the possibility of extending this goodwill initiative to other exotic products of Sri Lanka. It is planning to feature, every two months, various products such as gems, spices, eco-friendly cosmetic products, herbal products and tourism to the high-end audience. In this regard the High Commission is encouraged by the Export Development Authority with products and literature that will disseminate information to a positively recipient market.

The idea behind this to keep memory refreshed on Sri Lankan products and hopefully when the pandemic recedes, more pro-active and aggressive marketing to showcase Sri Lanka will be launched in Dhaka and Chittagong.  

Sri Lanka High Commission. Gulshan. Dhaka. Bangladesh.



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