Ethiopia designated as the World Best Tourist Destination for 2015 and as the Favorite Cultural Destination in 2015.
Prime Minister Hailemariam was also selected as World Leader of Tourism and as member of “European Tourism Academy”.
The titles were presented the to Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia on Friday, at the National Palace in Addis Ababa, by a European firm named “European Union Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT)”.
ECTT reached the decision following a debate on a report, by its President Professor Dr. Anton Caragea, titled “Ethiopia: The Perfect Cultural Destination; The Land Chosen by God”.
According to ECTT’s website, the World Best Tourist Destination is the highest honor to be awarded for a country for achievements in tourism. The award is “offered to countries that are complying with United Nations Tourism Division, UNESCO and ECTT principles on fair tourism, ethical tourism and safety standards and historic preservation of cultural sites”.
South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Trinidad and Tobago, Laos and Zimbabwe were the last five winners since 2010.
Professor Dr. Anton Caragea, ECTT President, has said that the impact of the award is massive as witnessed on the 2014 award winner, Zimbabwe, which become the most sought after destination and the number one country in Africa, in term of tourism growth for last year. Laos, winner of the 2013 World Best Tourist Destination award also crossed the 3 million-tourist benchmark, surpassing all the countries in the region, he added.
The announcement of the award was delayed by six months in order not to influence Ethiopian parliamentary elections that were held last May, according to ECTT’s officials. The ECTT intends to compensate the six months Ethiopia lost by pushing next years’ award announcement by about three months.
The president explained that the award went to Africa consecutively as Ethiopia is the second country to be selected from Africa next to last years’ winner Zimbabwe. This is the first time the ECTT has selected a winner from the same continent of the winner of the previous years’ award, he emphasized. This is, he said, due to the decision to show solidarity as the Ebola epidemic in West Africa last year and the bad publicity led to the subsequent drop in travel to Africa.
The winner of the World Capital of Culture award, which is yet to be announced, is Tbilisi, Georgia, HornAffairs learnt from ECTT president.
The European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) was established in 2005, and operates as a non profit-making international organisation with its headquarters in Bucharest . Its members are from 27 European Union Tourism Organizations, whose role is “to market and promote tourism and investment opportunities outside the European Union”, according to its website. European Tourism Academy is also a project of ECCT.