The General Assembly of 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 -FAVORITE CULTURAL DESTINATION in 2014.
I find it quite strange that Zimbabwe is awarded the Tourism destination of the Year 2014 and yet there are still travel warnings out in place. Most people are not aware that the travel ban on Zimbabwe has been removed and I am sure that through ignorance a lot of people are discouraged to visit Zimbabwe. All the negative media portrayals of Zimbabwe work against us and make our country a less appealing tourism destination. It doesn’t help that our president Robert Mugabe, frequently has unsavory outbursts against other nations that do not help market our country.
I like to represent Zimbabwe wherever I go. I label myself as a Zimbabwean and feel that it is my responsibility to be an ambassador for my country. I do a lot of promotions for the Victoria Falls and all the wonders our country ha to offer. Interestingly enough, I am often asked if it is safe to visit Zimbabwe. I also get asked if there is food in Zimbabwe and if the inflation is still at astronomical levels. This shows you how well we are marketing our country. No-one would want to visit a country where the shelves are empty and there is lots of violence. As they say it is very easy to lose a reputation, but it very hard to build it back. This is the case with Zimbabwe. When things go wrong, the media is always at hand to spread the bad news. When things change, they find another sorry story to report on. Hopefully, with this award we will be able to remove the negative perceptions around our country.
As Zimbabweans, we need to market our country and spread the positive news about the renewal in our country. Let us make as much noise as we can about this award.Professor Dr. Mircea Constantinescu, Director of European Tourism Academy had presented a report on the last year (2013) situation of the Award for WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION that was dedicated to People’s Democratic Republic of Laos and it was used accordingly with rules and regulations and have being proving highly efficient in attracting new tourists and investor`s. In 2013 Lao PDR had enjoyed a record number of tourists and the highest increase in the number of incoming tourist in the world with a staggering 8% increase during 2013/2014 being ranked NUMBER 1 COUNTRY in the world in the number of received tourists despite the world economic crisis.
Obtaining an 8% growth in tourism industry it also achievements unmatched by any other country in this time of hard hitting recession on a world scale, stated ECTT President-Professor Dr. Anton Caragea.
On the debate for WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD FOR 2014, Professor Dr. Anton Caragea, President of European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) presented the report titled: ZIMBABWE: THE PERFECT AFRICAN DESTINATION. A SEVEN WONDER IN TOURISM AND CULTURAL POTENTIAL proposing ZIMBABWE as the winner of WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2014 and as receiver of FAVORITE CULTURAL DESTINATION distinction for 2014.
Among the reasons for awarding WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2014 to ZIMBABWE the report outlined:
-The peerless organization of World Tourism Organization General Assembly in 24-30 August 2013, the world gathering of tourism experts comprising more than 120 countries.
-The successful organizing of this world event, despite tremendous logistic and economic challenges, proves without a doubt the capacity of Zimbabwe authority and tourism industry to organize world level events and to host all level of tourism.
-After the perfect support and creative vision in carving a successful world tourism meeting, ZIMBABWE has unequivocal demonstrated that is a safe, open and perfect managed tourism power house.
-The promotion and support offered to a new concept of community natural protection supporting tourism friendly to nature, with low ecological impact and preservation of natural biodiversity and protection of endangered species and areas, especially rainforest south-African eco-climate.
-Community based ecotourism protection carved by Minister Walter Mzembi is a perfect way to share revenues and income, to support rural communities in prospering and presenting their foodstuff and handicrafts to the world and to make eco-tourism as the base for an economic local development.Sharing tourism benefits to all the population, offering eco-friendly tourism it is a lesson that REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE is offering to the world.
Offering to tourists and outstanding and pristine nature and the opportunity to explore nature, to contribute to ecological preservation and the opportunity to visit extraordinary space such as: the unique landscape of Victoria Waterfall, the National Parks as: Mana, Eastern Highlands from Manicaland, Mana Basins from West Mashonaland, Exfoliated Hills from Matebeland, Chilojo Cliffs, and Matobo Hills from Bulawayo etc.
All this regions and natural parks are model of achievements in ecological and green tourism that must be world recognized.
-The continuous development and protection of cultural and historical patrimony of Republic of Zimbabwe, the transformation of Harare in a historical and spiritual center offering to the visitor a glimpse into rich culture and heritage of people`s of Zimbabwe
-The preservation of an outstanding historical and cultural patrimony that comprises wonderful sites such as: cultural, historical and rich legacy of Great Kingdom of Zimbabwe, the preservation of the former capital of Shone Kingdom-Great Zimbabwe in Masvingo area with a world class fortification system and palatial complex from 12th century, this are offering a rare insight for tourists into one of the greatest civilization of pre-colonial Africa and a rare window into traditions of centuries.
Today, REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE is creating and offering for tourists an open air museum, a rare collection of historical and archeological 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 Stone Age period with an incomparable contribution to world legacy.
The REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE is today a hot spot for adventure tourism offering a large area of regions suitable for this special kind of tourism and the necessary infrastructure to welcome adventure sicker, the safety structures and natural potential to rank amongst the top world adventure spots.
Keeping alive spiritual tradition, integrating tourist`s and visitors in the atmosphere of the REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE people, offering possibility for an enriching cultural experience, are all achievements that transform REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE in a spiritual first class destination.
After hearing the report, Senator Ionel Agrigoroaiei, from Romanian Parliament and Director of European Parliamentary Committee in European Council on Tourism and Trade had express the feeling’s of all present at the gathering declaring that: REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE is the perfect candidate, with a perfect record of promoting eco-friendly tourism, ecological and social oriented tourism and that only a unanimity vote in favor of REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE could express the unwavering European tourism and economic community support in favor of such a world model.
Mr. Victor Deleanu, ECTT rapporteur, presented also a report on ZIMBABWE: HOT SPOT OF ADVENTURE TOURISM reiterating the highest praises for the country safety record and infrastructure and hospitality industry achievements that are making Zimbabwe the perfect destination in Africa.
Mr. Mihai Prundianu, Chairman of Trade Mission of ECTT also highlighted the importance that today, when Africa is celebrated 50 years of African Unity, Europe must express his commitment and appreciation for Africa by crowning ZIMBABWE as FAVORITE CULTURAL DESTINATION AND WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2014.
In 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 -FAVORITE CULTURAL DESTINATION in 2014.
It was also presented the Official Invitation, on behalf of Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality of REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE for a delegation of European high ranking official of 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 of today Africa.
Awarding the highest world tourism prize of European Council on Tourism and Trade, accepting the invitation for a working visit of high-ranking members of European Council on Tourism and Trade in REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE, are all momentous and felicitous occasions that are offering the symbol of admiration that all tourism experts are having for the potential and future of tourism in REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE concluded at the end of the meeting Professor Anton Caragea, President of European Council on Tourism and Trade.
May this be the beginning of the Zimbabwe tourism industry come back. If we al play a part in marketing our country, we can build our tourism industry again.
AIR ZIMBABWE (AirZim) has begun discussions with the tough-talking multi-millionaire investor, Nicholas van Hoogstraten, which could see the British tycoon availing an undisclosed sum to the beleaguered national flag carrier for aircraft acquisitions and repayment of massive debts in Europe sources have revealed.The move is meant to facilitate the re-launch of flights on the money-spinning Harare-London route next month. Government sources familiar with the discussions told The Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets (C&M) this week that the property magnate, a significant shareholder alongside government in Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Hwange Colliery Company Limited and listed-hotel chain, Rainbow Tourism Group, had agreed to a proposed deal by AirZim but had tabled several conditions, which the AirZim board was still considering.
If the board, and consequently government, which wholly-owns Air Zimbabwe, agrees to the deal with van Hoogstraten, the British tycoon is understood to be ready to immediately inject up to US$15 million in working capital for the resumption of the Harare-London flights. AirZim chairman, Ozias Bvute told C&M on Monday that he had not received van Hoogstraten’s proposal. But C&M understands that the tycoon will get a 180-day commercial paper after injecting the funding. AirZim is expected to deploy the cash to settle an overdraft facility estimated at about US$$2,5 million and channel at least US$3 million towards unpaid landing debts in London, a source familiar with the transaction said.
An executive at a bank that is handling the transaction said AirZim would use about US$500 000 to rehabilitate and carry maintenance work on one of its Boeing 767s that is currently grounded. C&M can exclusively reveal that after the maintenance works, the B767 would be leased for about US$500 000 per month to generate funding for critical overheads. At least US$1 million would be channelled into working capital, while a further US$3 million would fund fuel procurement. Van Hoogstraten has also agreed to purchase two new Boeing 777 aircraft for the Harare-London flights and proposed that AirZim reconfigures the route to include Johannesburg, reliable government and AirZim sources said. But the Bvute-led board would have to agree to conditions proposed by van Hoogstraten, which include the formation of a new company in London, fully controlled by the British businessman that will manage the flights.
Last week, Wilbough’s Consolidated, which is one of the investor’s family businesses, wrote to the Hwange board, in a letter that was copied to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Walter Chidhakwa, and President Robert Mugabe, indicating that it was ready to inject fresh capital into the mine but proposed wide-ranging conditions, including taking over management control, before releasing US$50 million. Under the proposed transaction, Wilbough’s wants a five-year technical services and management agreement with Hwange. Commenting on the AirZim deal, a source said; “Van Hoogstraten has agreed to pay US$8 million in outstanding overflying debts, which are critical if the airline is to be allowed to land in London.” “He says if the AirZim board agrees, he will buy two B777s for the Harare-Johannesburg-London routes. But he wants total control of management and finance. “He wants to make sure that on every flight there are no free tickets, which he feels have been killing the airline.” Van Hoogstraten declined to comment on the deal this when contacted during his visit to the country last week.
The 300 to 370 seater B777 is one of the largest twin-engine airliners in the world, spanning the capacity between the B767 and the B747. Van Hoogstraten feels it would be the best aircraft for the Harare-London route. AirZim, which has 767s in its fleet, which can be used for the Harare-London flights, has been trying to introduce a fresh taste on its routes, after the recent lease of two A320s from France, which have been flying on its regional routes since the airline re-launched flights in November last year. It had grounded its entire fleet in July 2011 after encountering working capital constraints.
The airline’s board has been looking at the possibility of leasing Airbus 330s (A330) to use on the route, where competition is cutthroat, and only latest aircraft ranges are likely to attract viable traffic. In addition to local flights, AirZim has been operating the Harare-Johannesburg and Victoria Falls-Johannesburg flights. During the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s annual general meeting in August, the airline had indicated that it would introduce three more routes in southern Africa starting this month. This did not happen.
AirZim had indicated that it had completed research on the viability of two weekly flights on the Harare-Durban route and three weekly flights on the Harare-Lusaka and Harare-Lilongwe routes. AirZim, which collapsed under the weight of massive debt and depleted passenger numbers in 2011, has been on an aggressive domestic and regional route network expansion since bouncing back in November last year.
Source: Financial Gazette