ECTT: Are we dealing with honest people?

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ZIMBABWE has been awarded the World Best Tourist Destination For 2014 and Favourite Cultural Destination for 2014 by the European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT), a move that is surprisingly being regarded as a ‘victory’ over the country’s ‘detractors’.
Zimbabwe was selected as the winner of the respected awards from other 27 nominated countries around the world and has become the first country in Africa to get this honour.
Speaking during the award giving ceremony in the capital this week that was attended by President Robert Mugabe and Cabinet ministers among other guests, the ECTT president, Professor Anton Caragea said Zimbabwe has distinctive cultural sights and monuments that have won her the honour among other countries.
He said Zimbabwe was the ‘place to be’.
“I must say it was a privilege to honour the country that has become a favourite cultural destination for 2014,” he said.
“We have come to Harare to honour a true culture, in a world that is losing its true value.
“We come today to honour a real patrimony.
“We have come here to honour the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe.”
However, with all the praises and honour coming from the ECTT, should Zimbabweans trust this institution?
A brief background of this so-called ‘apolitical’ organisation paints an interesting picture.
According to their website, ectt.net.webs.com, “the European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) is a non-profit making organisation with its headquarters in Bucharest.
“European Council on Tourism and Trade is one of the oldest and most important institutes in European Union specialised in the field of tourism promotion and research.
“It is our wish to acquaint the users of our services, our partners in the European Union and abroad with the touristic, trade, scientific, research, cultural and publishing activities of the Institute. 
“Since it was established, European Council on Tourism and Trade has had a special place in the tourism industry of the European Union.
“The European  Council on Tourism and Trade  studies the processes and phenomena in the field of international tourism, creates promotion campaign, promotes destinations and offer travel advice, safety advice and recommendation for EU citizen`s , this also including legal aspects of international tourism .” 
What is also baffling is that on its website is an edited image of Uncle Sam with the message, “2014, The Year to Visit Zimbabwe.”
Is this organisation (one of the oldest and most important institutes in European Union) therefore not from the same European Union (EU) which once condemned Zimbabwe, issuing travel warnings to its citizens and regarding the country as an unsafe tourist destination?
Is it not from the same EU that was on the forefront of using the international media, the likes of BBC and CNN to discredit President Mugabe and Zimbabwe in order to enforce regime change?
The major question here is, are we not dealing with a bunch of dishonest people?
Where is this sudden honour and respect for Zimbabwe by this European organisation coming from?
The ECTT was there and remained silent when the EU was ill-treating and suffocating the tourism industry by sabotaging Zimbabwe’s tourist arrivals through malicious reports.
What is interesting, however, is that the ECTT is now recognising Zimbabwe as a safe tourist destination, in fact the best, only when the growing appetite for EU’s re-engagement process with Zimbabwe has taken centre stage.
Since last year’s July 31 elections which witnessed ZANU PF’s landslide victory, the EU has been trying to re-engage Zimbabwe using various methods and organisations to create linkages with the country.
Should then the ECTT be distanced from such organisations?
In his address after receiving the tourism awards, President Mugabe said he was not surprised at all that the ECTT had seen it fit to give the Awards for The World Best Tourist Destination For 2014 and Favourite Cultural Destination for 2014 to Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe is indeed endowed with bountiful natural resources and a rich cultural history,” said President Mugabe
“There are times when I tend to think that Zimbabweans do not really know their country and its intrinsic value and worth, besides of course, its mineral endowments, such as gold and diamonds, which everyone knows about.
“Perhaps the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality should launch a ‘Know Your –Zimbabwe’ campaign to facilitate visits to, and knowledge of our country’s notable sights.”
Speaking at the same occasion, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi, said the ETTC awards were a great achievement over the country’s enemies who were responsible for the collapse of the country’s economy.
“Destination awards can only be received or at least witnessed by the highest office in the land because they are a symbolic victory over our detractors’ ethos to reposition us otherwise,” he said.
The awards given to Zimbabwe are expected to boost confidence of the European tourist to visit the country. After all, they are from an organisation that, “promotes destinations and offer travel advice, safety advice and recommendation for EU citizens.”
The EU is definitely still interested and excited about Zimbabwe, but it is important to remember that history has it that the ‘EU has permanent interests not friends.’
Zimbabwe therefore must be careful.

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