A delegation of high ranking members of a European Council on Tourism and Trade, led by their president, Professor Anthon Caragea, visited Zimbabwe to present the country with two major awards:-
• WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2014 and
• FAVORITE CULTURAL DESTINATION FOR 2014
Previous winners of the destination awards were Turkey in 2008, United Arab Emirates in 2009 and 2011, South Korea in 2010, Trinidad and Tobago in 2012 and Laos in 2013.
Zimbabwe was selected this year for successfully organising the 20th session of the World Tourism Organisation General Assembly in 2013, despite huge logistical and economic challenges facing the country. This European Council feels that Zimbabwe “has unequivocally demonstrated that it is a safe, open and perfect tourism destination”.
Other reasons for the selection were given as follows:
• The promotion of community-based and eco-friendly tourism
• For giving tourists access to outstanding and pristine nature and an opportunity to explore nature, to contribute to ecological preservation, and the opportunity to visit extraordinary places and National Parks. This is a model of achieving ecological and green tourism that must be recognized throughout the world.
• The preservation, development and protection of outstanding historical and cultural heritage in the form of the Great Zimbabwe Monument among many others.
• The preservation of cultural and natural sites of world significance and value, recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, (including Great Zimbabwe, Khami Ruins, Matobo Hills, Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas, Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls) make destination Zimbabwe an incomparable contribution to the world legacy
• Zimbabwe is 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
The delegation, hosted by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, toured Harare, Victoria Falls and Great Zimbabwe Monument.
Photos courtesy Zimbabwe Tourism Authority