The importance of drinking tea as an essential immunity booster during the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic was highlighted during a well-attended ‘Virtual Ceylon Tea Evening’ organized by the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Melbourne, in association with the Sri Lanka Tea Board, on 21 October 2020.
The very first of its kind, the ‘Virtual Ceylon Tea Evening’ was a novel approach to promote Sri Lanka’s ‘Ceylon Tea’ during the COVID19 pandemic. Among the more than forty participants of the web-based event were members of the Australian federal parliament, Parliament of the State of Victoria, Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sri Lanka-Australia Chamber of Commerce, Aus-Lanka Business Council, Australia-Sri Lanka Council Inc, Consular Corps of Victoria, and hoteliers in Melbourne.
The Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman Jayantha Molligoda, joining from Colombo appreciated the Australian consumer for their continued love of Ceylon tea and said the “Ceylon Tea Global Promotional Campaign” commencing in 2021 will cover Australian market, to bring the Australian consumer closer with Ceylon Tea. Dilmah Ceylon Tea CEO Dilhan Fernando demonstrated tasting of different regional Ceylon teas and making of a proper cup of tea.
Australian Tea Masters founder and CEO Sharyn Johnston, Ceylon tea lover Manuela Erb and Foodbank Victoria Food Procurement Manager Sunil Lakshmanasinghe were among the other panelists from Australia.The premium quality of Ceylon tea, health benefits of drinking tea especially during the pandemic, tea’s ability in boosting of the immune system, antioxidant qualities and ability to reduce the stress hormone cortisol in the body were highlighted by the panelists. Earlier this year, the Foodbank Victoria distributed the gift Ceylon tea consignment from the President of Sri Lanka for the victims of the Australian bushfires.
Australia is an important market for Ceylon tea. Sri Lanka was the second largest tea exporter to Australia in 2018 with 2391 metric tons of tea; 12% of Sri Lanka’s exports to Australia in that year. In 2019 Sri Lanka exported tea worth over US$ 25 million to Australia. The heightened interest in health and wellness due to the COVID19 pandemic is an added advantage for the Ceylon tea market in Australia.