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Published on : Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Ethiopia has been adjudged winner of the 2015 World Best Tourist Destination award and the Favourite Cultural Destination Distinction for 2015 by the General Assembly of the European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT).
According to the council’s report issued last month, the reasons for awarding World Best Tourist Destination Prize to Ethiopia were the excellent preservation of humanity landmarks such as the ruins of the city of Aksum, the heart of ancient Ethiopia; Fasil Ghebbi, the residence of the Ethiopian emperors during the 16th and 17th centuries; Harar Jugol, 82 mosques, 102 shrines, and unique interior design in the townhouses; Lalibela, the holy site encompassing 11 medieval stone-carved churches from the 13th century; the Konso Cultural Landscape (containing 55 kilometres of stonewalled terraces and fortified settlements); the Lower Valley of the Awash where humans took his first steps and where was found the Eva of all mankind, Lucy’s fossils; the Lower Valley of the Omo which also contains fragments pertaining to early human development and the fossils of Homo Gracilis.
All the sites were recognized as being of world significance and registered as UNESCO World heritage monuments.
The council further noted that the rich cultural and historical legacies of Ethiopia were not confined to the presented list, and that new prominent landmarks such as the Sheik Hussein religious, cultural and historical site; the Melka Kunture paleolithic site in the upper Awash Valley; the Gedeo Cultural and Natural Landscape; the Bale Mountains National Park; the Sof Omar Cave, the longest cave in Ethiopia at 15.1 kilometres long and the longest system of caves in Africa which are sacred for Islam and for the local Oromo population, have been added to the list.
In order to fully grasp the natural potential of Ethiopia’s natural parks and natural reservations one must also look at the potential of the Simien National Park with its mountain peaks, deep valleys, and sharp precipices dropping about 1,500 metres, the council added.
Community-based, social-oriented tourism, promoted by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, is a perfect way of sharing-revenue, growing income and supporting marginal and rural communities’ development, according to the report.
It further stressed that all these regions and national parks are a model of achieving ecological and green tourism that must be recognized throughout the world.
Ethiopia is also a perfect center for safari and adventure tourism, offering large areas suitable for this special kind of tourism, and the necessary infrastructure to welcome the adventure seeker, its safety and peace, makes the country, one of the world’s top adventure destinations.
Besides, it was pointed out that the safety of the country and the huge hospitality potential of Ethiopia are revealed by the acceptance of the invitation for a familiarization visit of high ranking members of European Council on Tourism and Trade to Ethiopia.
“Ethiopia is from today a perfect, safe and outstanding place to visit, the countries gates are opened and all world tourism experts have expressed their confidence in the potential and future of tourism in Ethiopia,” Professor Anton Caragea, President of the European Council on Tourism and Trade concluded.