You can read in full extent the speech delivered on this momentous ceremony from the Office of The President of European Council on Tourism and Trade:
To all the people of REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE,
It is also a great pleasure to address our salute to the majestic people of Zimbabwe, a people that with spirit and mettle have united the south of African continent in the peerless civilization of Great Zimbabwe, that had left to the mankind the legacy of an indelible civilization, with hundreds of monuments of historical and world patrimony relevance, a strong and proud people that had offered to the world heritage countless blessings.
Today when we celebrate Zimbabwe as a cultural and touristic power house, we must not forget that the main credit belongs, without a doubt, to the all people of Zimbabwe irrespective of their race, color, political or religious orientation that from 1979 onwards have been constructing, defying unfathomable difficulties, a life of dignity, liberty and tolerance in a free country.
Today, we come to share the good news that Africa, that recently celebrated 50 years of African unity, has reasserted herself and we come to honor a country of REBIRTH , OF RENAISSANCE, in a world that forgets that the main reason of tourism is imbuing the travelers into local culture, to immerse them in the discovery of the history, we come today to Harare honor a TRUE CULTURE.
In a world that is loosing the true values, we come today the honor a real TOURISTIC PATRIMONY, in a time in which to many speak and do not act for protecting historical sites and environmental riches, we come to honor THE SEVEN WONDER OF TOURISM, we come to honor the Republic of Zimbabwe.
We come in this place of Hope, in this place where almost 35 years ago the end of segregation, of exploitation and of colonialism was cried out into the open and confronted with a new name: Harare!
Here, in the city that never sleeps we have all gather to show our support for the values of humanity, of cultural driven tourism.
We are all here in the search for a country that offer to tourists a complete experience, a country that educates spirit, elevates soul and gives everybody a lesson in history and culture.
We all have found in ZIMBABWE the perfect teacher in tourism, offering to all tourists of the world the possibility of a safe, pleasurable and enlightening touristic experience.
Among the reasons leading to awarding FAVORITE CULTURAL DESTINATION IN 2014 title to REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE our report has taken under consideration:
- 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.
- Offering to tourists the 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.
- 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, these 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,make destination Zimbabwe to offer an incomparable contribution to the world legacy.
Based on these facts that can be completed with many others, The European Council on Tourism and Trade decided, unanimously, to declare REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE – FAVORITE CULTURAL DESTINATION in 2014.
It is my great honor and privilege to hand over this title to the Minister of Culture and Sports of Republic of Zimbabwe, as an international recognition for all the people of Zimbabwe, all united in the service of protecting and preserving historical and civilization patrimony of your country, in fostering tourism and culture, in the service of the people of ZIMBABWE,
May this award be transformed in a support for developing the international standing of REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE, for a sustainable tourism and development and in a base for further success for A WORLD OF WONDERS -THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE.
Esteemed Minister of Culture,
It is my privilege to handover to you, as representative of culture of THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE, the award for FAVORITE CULTURAL DESTINATION FOR 2014.