On the occasion of Addis Ababa Ceremony for WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2015, the European Council on Tourism and Trade President – Professor dr. Anton Caragea, had presented the principal speech outlining the reasons behind naming Ethiopia as the receiver of the world most prestigious tourism award.
Here is the full text of the Council President:
We have all gathered here, on the venue of WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION CEREMONY to celebrate one of humanity most important achievements in the last centuries: and this is undoubtedly tourism.
Tourism had become, from just a tool for enjoyment and ludic preoccupation, a major part of human life.
Tourism is today an intricate part of our life, the need to share experiences, to search for unknown territories, to go further and further.
Tourism is inscribed in our fiber and it defines us, it make us human.
Tourism is now a major economic factor that helps countries to be developed and enrich themselves in more than just the economic point of view.
Countries and people’s are rediscovering themselves by tourism.
Cultures are resurrected, history is brought to life and people are enjoying new opportunities via tourism development.
An ambassador was considered, a few centuries ago, as a tourist entrusted with gathering knowledge and information’s about distant lands and in offering the image of his country to other people.
Today, in XXI century, all tourists are diplomats, building bridges of information, understanding and cooperation by simple experience of travel.
Presiding over WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2015: (from left to right): European Council on Tourism and Trade President-Professor dr. Anton Caragea, Prime Minister of Ethiopia-Academician Hailemariam Desalegn, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Ethiopia-Amin Abdulkadir.
In this new world, where tourism is economy, is diplomacy and is shaping people’s and nations destiny, there is no more important moment as the moment when world tourism is choosing his World Best Tourist Destination.
In some years our choice is driven by consumerist arguments, and this is normal as tourism is after all a major economic factor, but some time our decision must lead the way for tourists to discover and rediscover new lands and new cultures and must be a signal of re-emphasizing the need to put history, patrimony, cultural legacy at the fore of our decision.
European Council on Tourism President looking over the ancient city of Axum.
We must never forget the fact that: the main duty of tourism is to enrich the soul and capture the imagination of traveler.
This is the rationale, the driving force, underlined by our decision to hail Ethiopia as the World Best Tourist Destination for 2015.
Tourists that will select, in this year and in the years to come, Ethiopia as their pristine destination, will have the chance of immersing themselves in the land from where humanity once sprinkled.
Here is where our grandmother to all, started her journey, almost 4 million years ago.
Her name was Lucy-Dinkenesh -she is wonderful (in translation)- as is the tender Ethiopian name .
Here, in Ethiopia, tourists can reconnect with God, as both the Kingdom of Axum and his later hair-Lalibela made a point of honor in creating the Christianity cradle of Africa. Here you can see God powerful deeds by the presence and ingenuity of Ethiopian people as in the stoned carved churches of Lalibela.
European Council on Tourism and Trade President-Professor Dr. Anton Caragea is presenting the allocution: ETHIOPIA-THE LAND CHOSEN BY GOD!-World Best Tourist Destination for 2015.
The legacy of Muslim creeds can also be found in the Sheik Hussein Religious, Cultural and Historical Site and many others holy sites in Harar.
All this is making Ethiopia the ideal destination for people’s searching their connection with God, in quest for their peace of mind and soul or maybe just the beauty of religious artifacts.
Dr. Anton Caragea ECTT President addressing the peoples of Lalibela-The center of african christianity.
Should I just recall that: this is the unique place where you can go in search of the Arch of the Covenant, as a modern Indiana Jones or just as a traveler searching for spiritual adventures?
Because thus is Ethiopia today: a spiritual adventure, a discovery trip that must not be overlooked and that is richly deserving the appellative of World Best Tourist Destination.
I will not linger too much on detailed description of all the UNESCO heritage sites existing in Ethiopia or on the long list of region and cities awaiting their inscription on world heritage list.
I will just emphasize how rare is a country offering such a diversity of cultural, historical and natural beauties as Ethiopia.
Here in Ethiopia you can find the cradle of humanity, cradle of religions, cradle of culture and why not? Cradle of agriculture.
European delegation has a lay-over in a traditional harari house (Gay Ger)
We must not forget that thirty-six of world crops are originating from Ethiopia as their starting point in our food.
Let just imagine a world without coffee. I know is difficult, but without Ethiopia the long way of coffee would have not existed.
Ethiopia is not a distant place, you can discover it in any cup of cafe, in any taste of wheat or barley, they all must whisper to you: come to Ethiopia, come to where humanity started, come home !
Yes, in our decision to crown the jewel of Africa-Ethiopia as World Best Tourist Destination we did not forget for a moment that we are not encouraging people to go in a far or distant place.
No! We are just telling them to come home, to rediscover their roots, their house-Ethiopia.
We must also mark down Ethiopia as an example for tourism revenues distribution and to encourage tourist, travelers or just prospective tourists to invest in local artisans creations.
Tourism revenues are helping communities to develop, are helping people restarting their lives, protecting cultural landscape and historical legacy.
Coming as a tourist in Ethiopia is not just a self rewarding adventure, but is also an opportunity to make a responsible tourism, a fair trade tourism, supporting local communities and poor rural areas.
It is a perfect example of social tourism, that we must command and support and specially promote.
We are hailing Ethiopia also a Favorite Cultural Destination for 2015 and with good measure also, as we just inscribed as intangible cultural and tourism patrimony heritage the Ethiopian coffee ceremony and shimgalina-the specific Ethiopian concept of learning and amicability.
The coffee ceremony is not only celebrating the first coffee planted and presented to the world by Ethiopian people, but is also a ceremony destined to showcase the hospitality, the traditions, the desire to offer the best to travelers and passerby alike.
In this ceremony, we can observe the people character and way of treating with dignity and care their guests.
I must also remark another component of intangible cultural and tourism patrimony heritage of Ethiopia- the concept of shimgalina, offering another mark of inter-community dialogue and acceptance, of tolerance and friendship, that explains in full how Ethiopia can unite people’s, can give them the sense of historical unity and bind them together in love.
This concept is also a fundament of Ethiopian history and development, a secret to ingratiate in a polite and correct manner, that makes tourist feel at home in this wonderful country.
As Ethiopia is in itself a succinct compendium of humanity history and traditions, I could go one for hours, underlining the many reasons why crowning Ethiopia today as World Best Tourist Destination it is just a normal act of recognition.
The recognition of a country so rich in culture and promises for tomorrow, a nation that it becomes the embodiment of the tourism for the future, of the tourism for knowledge and experiences, of tourism that is leaving us richer in conscience and soul.
The story of Ethiopia continues and is writing today a new and remarkable page: the page of tourism and cultural success, the page of Ethiopia as WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2015.
Dinner honoring WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2015: (from left to right): Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, European Council on Tourism and Trade President-Professor dr. Anton Caragea, Prime Minister of Ethiopia-Academician Hailemariam Desalegn, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Ethiopia-Amin Abdulkadir.
Your Excellency Mr. Prime Minister and European academician-Hailemariam Desalegn,
It is my great honor and privilege to hand over this title as an international recognition for all the people of Ethiopia, all united in the service of protecting and preserving historical and civilization patrimony of your country, in fostering tourism and culture, in the service of the people of ETHIOPIA,
As I often say and hope, that this title must be regarded as a challenge, as from now on we are expecting your country and people exertions in the benefit of the world culture and tourism.
I hope that: this lofty rostrum will be transformed in a support for developing the international recognition of FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA, for a social oriented tourism and development and in a base for further success for THE LAND CHOSEN BY GOD himself – ETHIOPIA.
It is my privilege to handover to Your Excellency, as the most representative leader of people and tourism of FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA the award for WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2015.