On the occasion of the General Assembly of the European Council on Tourism and Trade, H.E. Professor Dr. Anton Caragea held a key note speech analyzing the efforts of Lao PDR, former receiver of WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD FOR 2014 and praising ZIMBABWE the new receiver of the world most important touristic distinction: WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION.
The full presentation of the speeches and activities held on this occasion can be read here:
Professor Dr. Mircea Constantinescu, Director of European Tourism Academy presented a report on the 2013 Award for the WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION to the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos. He stated that the
Republic of Laos had leveraged the award in accordance with rules and regulations, which proved useful for attracting new tourists and investors.
In 2013, Laos PDR recorded the highest increase in the number of incoming tourists in the world with a staggering 8% increase during the 2013/2014, despite the world economic crisis.
An increase in investment, in the country’s tourism potential and the number of foreign visitors were the positive outcomes of the WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD for Lao PDR, concluded Professor Dr. Mircea Constantinescu.
Professor Dr. Anton Caragea also praised the outstanding commitment and achievements of Laos tourism in 2013. Laos PDR also boosted its international presence, with European companies and tour operators that advertised sites and trips to Laos PDR increasing from 1.500 to 3.200 in less than a year.
On internet, the number of pages promoting Laos biodiversity and tourism facilities increased from 20 million to more than 50 million, an unrivalled increase in the recent history of tourism marketing on internet.
The 8% growth of the tourism industry, during these times of worldwide economic recession, is also unmatched by any other country, said ECTT President-Professor Dr.Anton Caragea.
On the debate for the WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD FOR 2014, Professor Dr. Anton Caragea, President of European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) presented a report titled: ZIMBABWE: THE PERFECT AFRICAN DESTINATION; A SEVEN-WONDER DESTINATION IN TOURISM AND CULTURAL POTENTIAL.
He proposed ZIMBABWE as the winner of WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2014 and as receiver of the FAVORITE CULTURAL DESTINATION distinction for 2014.
The report noted that the reasons for awarding WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2014 to ZIMBABWE were the following:
The excellent organization of the 20th Session of the World Tourism Organization General Assembly from 24-30 August 2013. The world gathering brought together tourism experts from more than 120 countries.
The successful organizing of this world event, inspite of huge logistic and economic challenges, proves without doubt, the capacity of Zimbabwe Government and the tourism industry’s capacity to organize world level events.
Following a magnificent vision and the organisation of a successful world tourism meeting, ZIMBABWE has unequivocally demonstrated that it is a safe, open and perfect tourism destination.
The support offered to the promotion of Community Based Tourism, which ensures the survival of sustainable tourism, with its with low ecological impact and preservation of natural biodiversity and protection of endangered species in Southern Africa. Community based ecotourism, promoted by Minister Walter Mzembi, is a perfect way of sharing revenue that supports rural communities’ prosperity through opportunities to market their foodstuffs and handicrafts to the world. The way in which eco-tourism has become the base for local economic development, providing benefits to communities, makes eco-friendly tourism the lesson that the REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE is offering to the world.
Giving tourists access to outstanding and pristine nature and the opportunity to explore nature, to contribute to ecological preservation, and the opportunity to visit extraordinary places such as: the unique landscape of Victoria Falls; the National Parks such the Eastern Highlands in Manicaland; the Mana Pools in Mashonaland West; Exfoliated Hills from Matebeland; Chilojo Cliffs in Masvingo and the Matobo Hills near Bulawayo etc. All these regions and national parks, are a model of achieving ecological and green tourism that must be recognized throughout the world.
The ongoing development and protection of cultural and historical shrines of the Republic of Zimbabwe, the transformation of Harare into a historical and spiritual centre, offering to the visitors a glimpse into rich culture and heritage of peoples of Zimbabwe.
The preservation of outstanding historical and cultural heritage in the form of the former capital of the Shona Kingdom, the Great Zimbabwe in Masvingo, a fortified palatial complex from the 12th Century, offering a rare insight into one of the greatest pre-colonial civilizations of Africa, and a rare window into centuries old traditions.
Today, Great Zimbabwe Monument also offers tourists an open air museum with a rare collection of historical and archaeological treasures that educate and enrich the world.
The preservation of cultural and natural sites of world significance and value such as: Great Zimbabwe National Monument (added to UNESCO list in 1986), Khami Ruins National Monument (added to UNESCO list in 1986), Matobo Hills (added to UNESCO list in 2003), Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas (added to UNESCO list in 1984), Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls and UNESCO candidate regions as: Ziwa National Monuments dating from the Stone Age period, make destination Zimbabwe to offer an incomparable contribution to the world legacy.
The REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE is today a hot spot for adventure tourism, offering large areas suitable for this special kind of tourism, and the necessary infrastructure to welcome the adventure seeker, its safety and peace, makes the country, one of the world’s top adventure destinations.
Keeping alive indigenous traditions, allows tourists and visitors to be part of the Zimbabwe people’s social fabric, which offers the possibility for an enriching cultural experience, are all achievements that make the REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE a first class destination.
After hearing the report, Senator Ionel Agrigoroaiei, from the Romanian Parliament and Director of European Parliamentary Committee in the European Council on Tourism and Trade expressed the views of all present at the gathering when he declared that the REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE is the deserving candidate, with a perfect record of promoting eco-friendly tourism, ecological and socially oriented tourism, and that only a unanimous vote in favor of the REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE, could express the unwavering European tourism and economic communities’ support for such a world model.
Mr. Victor Deleanu, ECTT rapporteur also presented a report titled “ZIMBABWE: A HOT SPOT OF ADVENTURE TOURISM” which praised the country for its safety record, infrastructure and hospitality industry’s achievements that make Zimbabwe an attractive destination in Africa.
Mr. Mihai Prundianu, Chairman of the Trade Mission of the ECTT, also highlighted the importance of the moment as the continent celebrated 50 years of African Unity, it is appropriate for Europe to express its commitment to, and appreciation for, Africa by crowning ZIMBABWE THE FAVORITE CULTURAL DESTINATION AND WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2014.
At the end of the debate, European Council on Tourism and Trade decided, unanimously, to award WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2014 TITLE TO REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE and to declare REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE THE FAVORITE CULTURAL DESTINATION in 2014.
The meeting was also presented with the Official Invitation, from the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality of the REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE, for a delegation of high ranking officials of the European Council on Tourism and Trade, to present the WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD in Harare, in person, to His Excellency President of REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE ROBERT GABRIEL MUGABE, the most outstanding personality in Africa today.
Awarding the highest world tourism prize of the European Council on Tourism and Trade; accepting the invitation for a working visit of high ranking members of European Council on Tourism and Trade to the REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE, are all momentous occasions and evidence of the admiration that all tourism experts have for the potential and future of tourism in REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE, concluded Professor Anton Caragea, President of the European Council on Tourism and Trade at the end of the meeting.
PRESIDENT OFFICE OF EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON TOURISM AND