President receives tourism awards

President Mugabe

President Mugabe

Herald Reporters
The European Council on Tourism and Trade will today present two awards to President Mugabe in recognition of Zimbabwe’s appeal as a major tourism destination.
The ceremony at a Harare hotel this morning provides further independent affirmation of Zimbabwe as a tourism destination of choice. Zimbabwe was determined to be the 2013 World’s Most Preferred Cultural Destination after successfully co-hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly with Zambia last year.

The ECCT is a private Bucharest, Romania-based organisation with interest in tourism and gives awards to countries annually.
According to its website, it draws together tourism-related organisations from 27 European countries.

The ECCT is not affiliated to the EU, which is a political and economic bloc of mostly Western European countries that have imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe in response to Harare’s revolutionary land reform programme.

ECCT president Professor Anton Caragea, after meeting Vice President Joice Mujuru on Monday, said: “We are a non-governmental organisation and we are nowhere related to Government. We have come here only to praise the culture of Zimbabwe, the tourism legacy, to promote the tourism in Zimbabwe and this is absolutely mandatory.

“We are not interested in politics except politics of friendship, politics of co-operation and collaboration. We have not heard (of) any tourism embargoes. This is a free and perfect tourist destination. Zimbabwe is absolutely a jewel and gem of Africa.”

Established in 2005, the ECCT has given its top tourism award to Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Laos, Trinidad and Tobago, and now Zimbabwe.

The ECCT has praised Zimbabwe’s peaceful environment, natural treasures and cultural legacy, which make it “the perfect African destination”.
When it came to its decision, the ECCT said it would want to present the World’s Best Tourist Destination Award directly to President Mugabe, whom it described as “the most outstanding personality” in Africa.

The non-profit ECCT is largely led by Romanians, who include Prof Caragea who the organisation says on its website is an international relations expert.
Other leading figures in the body are industrialist Mr Nicolae Nicolae, Dr Mircea Constantinescu and Senator Ionel Agrigoroaiei.

Commentators, including the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ministry, have noted that the independent recognition from the ECCT is reflective of what Zimbabwe has to offer as a tourist destination that is nothing like the war zone some sections of  media have tried to portray it as.

Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi, his Sport, Arts and Culture counterpart Andrew Langa, and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority boss Mr Karikoga Kaseke are among VIPs expected to join President Mugabe at today’s award presentation.

Meanwhile, Prof Caragea yesterday led his delegation to the Great Zimbabwe Monuments,a Unesco World Heritage Site.
“There is no doubt that Zimbabwe is one of the world’s best tourism destinations, a country with wonderful and warm people who have very rich cultural riches. Zimbabwe is a very safe and wonderful destination where any visitor will feel at home.

‘’It is very clear that there is now a changing turn on the number of tourist arrivals from Europe and the future looks even bright with the trend pointing to many more international visitors coming to Zimbabwe.’’

Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, who accompanied the ECTT delegation to the monuments, said the visit was an endorsement of Zimbabwe as a safe tourism destination.
The delegation also visited Lake Mutirikwi, Zimbabwe’s largest inland dam which was built in the 1960s to irrigate lowveld sugar cane.

Pin It
  • Judas Iscariot

    The ECCT is an NGO and this regime does not seem to care for these organisations. So i am suprised they are accepting an award from them.Its like a group of ordinary Zimbabweans coming together, without the blessing of our govt and going to the Republic of Palau or Vanuatu to present their leaders with a tourism award that we claim is from the organisation of African Unity.That explains why they have been targeting countries like Laos and Zimbabwe.

    • TruthHurts!

      I guess they should have gone to Kenya and Northern Nigeria! The tourism over there has invited the Americans by the truck and plane-load!

      • Batanai

        That was too funny! I think it went over many people’s heads, they do not seem to understand the western military personnel reference you are making!

    • Pontius Pilate

      These guys have found a way of enjoying free vacations around the world. Just imagine the vip treatment they have been receiving in this country being escorted by govt ministers everywhere they go.We should join hands and form our own Southern Africa Council on Tourism and Trade.(SACTT)

    • Zimbabwe

      Judas, you do not seem to understand the whole organization. Just do your research and check. This is a valid organization. The issue is that the organization pulled the rag ahead of the EU embargo on Zimbabwe. Even when states are in a state of fall our, let us not close the tourism peace bridge that should keep our people connected. ECTT has awarded many countries allover the world and what is sinister then with us getting the awards. These are destination endorsements and they are valid as we are indeed the safest destination in Africa. Tourists feel home and more comfortable in Zimbabwe than elsewhere in the world.

    • Mangwende we Chinhoyi

      Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate, you are displaying a mentality which is very retrogressive. You are bent on destroying efforts to develop your country. Instead of promoting development through mainstreaming our tourism endeavours, you try to thwart the efforts. A non political NGO is welcome but a NGO which displays your pattern of thinking is not welcome. Sorry.

      • succuba

        Buying plywood plaques from rogue dealers is not developement

      • masvukupete

        Development is achieved through proper use of one’s mental capabilities. It is not achieved through awards. GDP per capita is a good indicator (and not the only one) of a country’s success, although some may prefer to discard it. Energy production per capita is another, concrete/steel consumption yet another. However the use of mental capabilities seem not to lack in most of our Leaders.

  • Nyarai

    At least the Herald has come clean calling the ECCT a private Romanian organisation, out to milk the lucrative tourist trade to support the impressive salaries of its management.
    Calling itself an NGO is technically correct, but the objectives of its representatives are far from altruistic. No doubt the “donations” it receives from its many commercial tourism partners and links, more than pay for the trinket trophies and awards it readily dishes out to gullible nations looking for legitimacy.

  • Kewkwe326

    The clarification of the ECTT’s credentials is welcome and the Herald is to be congratulated. Earlier this week, this Romanian company was described here variously as the “European Union Council…” and the “EU team”, designations swiftly refuted by Mr Dell’Ariccia representing the real EU. It seems from its website and other sources that the ECTT is a PR company specialising in countries with an image problem, such as Turkmenistan, Syria and Laos as well as leaders with a dodgy record of corruption, election rigging and human rights abuses, like Emomalii Rahmon of Tajikistan..

    The ECTT, along with Caragea’s other company, the lofty-sounding “Institute of International Relations and Economic Cooperation”, also running out of the same building in Bucharest, provide, as their main mode of publicity for its clients, a collection of spurious awards with pompous titles, such as “Best Tourist Destination of the Year”, “Best Ambassador of the Year” and “World Statesman of the Year”, this last award, according to Caragea’s website, being “considered more influential than the Nobel Prize”.

    What the selection process is or who votes, if anyone, for these awards is not described. Nor is it clear what clients, like Zimbabwe, have to do to win or how all this is paid for. Presumably the propaganda value is enough to make the exercise worthwhile, but what the financial cost is to Zimbabwe has not been stated. Perhaps Minister Mzembi, now a Member of the “European Tourism Academy” (yes, you guessed it, one of Caragea’s operations) will set the record straight.

    • Zimbabe

      The negativity of opinions smacks of lack of appreciation of ECTT. To me these guys have traversed political differences that exist in the world. Before they cam here, they were met with President Putin. Their approach has defied geo-political matrix in Central and Eastern Europe on one hand and Western Europe wanting to perpetuate isolation of countries they differ with globally. We will not accept the world’s politics to be dictated by Western Europe hegemony.

      • Hacha Ndizvo

        Aahh Zimbabe you have omitted the single most cardinal question – What’s in it for them???? Even my Form One History Pupil will ask this question and produce a balanced critic rather than your hook and sinker gullibility.

      • Tapfuma

        Diaporans living in the EU are well aware of general perceptions of the majority of Western EU nations towards Romanians, until recently long under the sway of the Soviet Union. Words that come to mind are corrupt, thieves,
        living off foreign social benefits. Do any similarities to a certain ruling party come to mind?
        Mind you, other ex-Soviet states and southern EU countries that Zanu-PF prefers to deal with are rated with similar corruption index status. Birds of a feather?

    • Hacha Ndizvo

      Me thought the Herald was all along calling this bunch an EU Delegation? Now they have made an about turn after the real EU disowned these chaps? Could it be a case of sheer ignorance, negligence or a cynical presumption that Zimbabweans are stupid.

    • Muchafunga

      Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Remember what happened to Nicolae Ceaușescu!

    • Muchafunga

      Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Remember what happened to Nicolae Ceausescu!

    • Chemwapiwa

      Heard a rumour the ECCT was giving away free holiday tickets with 5 star hotel accommodation to visit another “Best Tourist Destination of the Year” destination, award winning Syria and its famous tranquil historic city of Aleppo.
      The first 400 tickets are reserved for all Zanu-PF MPs, Politburo and Cabinet, any other takers?

  • Panonetsa Shuwa, PhD.

    Ok, I see.. Ndanga ndashaya kuti zvirikumbofamba sei?

  • Mangwende we Chinhoyi

    Our tourism is developing and fast spreading such that the world is beginning to appreciate in the face of bad international publicity which is designed in such a way that the effects of illegal economic sanctions can impact heavily upon us. We progressive Zimbabweans, welcome heartily such organisations which assist in cleaning the bad image painted on us. It is only those unpatriotic people in Zimbabwe who do not appreciate such good gestures by ECCT. We say to you ECCT have a nice stay while in our country and we will continue to live peacefully: please continue telling the world about how peaceful Zimbabwe is.

    • Tsanoz

      Utter nonsense!!

      How many flights to Zimbabwe per week/month/year??

      How many visas issued out to tourists per week/month/year?

      Occupancy Rates in Hotels??

      Do you have those stats???

      Look at the roads…infrastructure….magetsi anoenda zvisina plan….mvura inoenda zvisina staera!!

      And u still blame sanctions?????

      Right, if you answer my questions ayo…then we are on the same wavelength….as of now, hauna nyaya!!

  • succuba

    If Caragea and his bogus companies had not been exposed here by us this would have been a different headline and article today,the self-aggrandisement and photo shoots would have been nauseating.

  • dotito

    Welcome to Zimbabwe ‘THE BEST TOURISM DESTINATION 2014′.Please fasten your seat belts as you enjoy the breathtaking scenery of valleys of pot holes, the peak mountains of garbage, the cover of darkness unspolit by ZESA power! We hope you can sample our water which is flavoured with raw sewage and other fluids from world renowned funeral parlours. For your viewing pleasure, we have poisoned heards of elephants and other wild life, and replaced them with millions of unemployed youths, vagrants and looters. We also have the three wonders of the world: The Heroes acre where you may receive relics of our fallen hoodlums, Gushungo Farm for a taste of presidential yoghurt, and Gracelands Orphanage in case you think we don’t care for the poor!

    • masvukupete

      Dotito, I think they didnt include places like Honalulu, Hawaii, Cyprus, Dubai amongst many, real magnificent places to be. However the title should rather read “The tourist destination with the potential to be the best of 2014″.

  • Masimba Musodza

    Why is the government shaming the whole of Zimbabwe this way? These awards are the equivalent of one of those funny websites where you can buy a degree or doctorate for as little as $67. The journalism fraternity should have outed this ECTT’s dubious status and prevented this farce.

  • dotito

    So how much did we pay these Romanians! Diziri Pa Chinhoyi part 2

  • DEBOUROU Alassane, BENIN Rep.


  • Fat Mo’s Barnyard Boys

    Viva Zimbabwe. Shame George Bush and Tony Blair. Icho!!!

    • anon

      Slightly wandered off topic here MX, what substance are you on tonight?