The Global Tourism Institution-European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) announced the appointment of a new presidential adviser for religious tourism development.

The appointment of a religious tourism expert in the person of Mr. Tudor Stefan comes in recognition of the ever growing importance of faith based tourism and  aims to highlight the positive contributions of pilgrimages and spiritual routes to sustainable and responsible tourism, as well as the contribution of tourism to cultural understanding and the preservation of natural and cultural heritage related to ancient trails and sacred places.

On the appointment of the new presidential adviser, H.E. President of ECTT- global tourism institution, Professor Dr. Anton Caragea noted that ”Asia and Africa are the most vital centers for religious and faith based tourism that will capture the attention of billions of travelers in the next decade and will have to respond to the challenge of sustainable and cultural oriented tourism and the nomination of our new adviser in the person of the reputed academic Mr. Tudor Stefan comes in response of our increased global role in the world of culture and tourism”


Lalibela (Ethiopia-World`s Best Tourist Destination in 2015) is one of the most rapidly developing tourism centers.



Mr. Tudor Stefan was presented to the diplomatic corps accredited to European Council on Tourism and Trade and in induction speech outlined that according to European Council on Tourism and Trade figures around 300 million tourists visit the world´s key religious sites every year, making spiritual tourism a significant part of both domestic and international tourism.

Angkor Wat (Cambodia-World`s Best Tourist Destination for 2016) had attracted 3,6 million tourists in 2018 alone.



The event has brought together diplomats from a diverse range of countries including Argentina, Australia, India, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Paraguay, The Republic of Korea, Spain and Thailand, among others.


The participants agreed that Asia and Africa are encapsulating the most impressive development potential being capable in bringing more than 200 million tourists and billion in investments funds and cultural protection.



 During the European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) official visit to Ethiopia, ECTT President, Professor Dr. Anton Caragea, met with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Foreign Minister, Tedos Ghebreyesus, State Minister, Berhane Gebre-Christos, Yaekob Yalla, Minister of Trade and Minister of Culture and Tourism, Amin Abdulkadir, to create a climate favorable for tourism and trade development and for awarding to the people and Government of Ethiopia, the world most important recognition for tourism advancement-WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD FOR 2015.

(Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 9-15 July 2015).

On the landmark occasion, of the universal proclamation of World Best Tourist Destination for 2015, a top ranking delegation from European Council on Tourism and Trade was invited for a discovery tour of Ethiopia, the receiver of this year most influential tourism designation.

We are WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION is the hymn of Ethiopia ! A perfect song for a perfect destination!

The visit took place between 9 to 15 July, 2015 and included an important political and diplomatic dimension, with European Council on Tourism and Trade President -Professor Dr. Anton Caragea holding discussions with Minister of Trade-Yaekob Yalla, Minister of Foreign Affairs-Berhane Gebre-Christos and H.E. Amin Abdulkadir – Minister of Culture and Tourism of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and an inclusive and profusely dialogue with Prime Minister of F.D.R. Ethiopia- Academician Hailemariam Desalegn.

 Ethiopia tourism is having a perfect future ! with the hand shake between Prime Minister of Ethiopia-Hailemariam Desalegn and ECTT President-Professor dr. Anton Caragea.

The inclusive dialogue, concentrated on promoting bilateral trade, investment and economic cooperation, supporting business people and firms from both regions in cooperating and promoting the exchange of techniques, skills and economic goods.

Gala dinner for European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) President and his high ranking delegation. (from right to left): Minister of Culture and Tourism – Amin Abdulkadir, H.E. Prime Minister – Academician Hailemariam Desalegn, H.E. ECTT President – Professor Dr. Anton Caragea , Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia-Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

On diplomatic arena a cooperation and further developing of honorary consul’s network across the world, was established, with a view to foster tourism, cultural and economic cooperation.

Creating a network of Ambassadors for Tourism and Culture, promoting tourism and the image of Ethiopia, where also tabled, based on other successful examples of actions of tourism promotion carved by European Council on Tourism and Trade.

During his official visit, Professor Dr. Anton Caragea met for an extensive dialogue Prime Minister Desalegn Hailemariam, who, on the occasion of WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION CEREMONY FOR 2015, was presented with the WORLD LEDERS OF TOURISM LETTER of European Council on Tourism and Trade, calling on Heads of States and Government to “promote peace and world development via the tourism sector”.

ECTT and Ethiopia have agreed to reinforce their collaboration in the areas of tourism promotion, management of tourism product development, and cultural marketing strategies, as agreed in the discussions between Professor Dr. Anton Caragea and the Minister of Tourism and Culture of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Mr. Amin Abdulkadir.

ETHIOPIA IS THE LAND CHOSEN BY GOD ! an WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2015 proclaimed President Professor Dr. Anton Caragea.

On July 10, 2015 European Council on Tourism and Trade President -Professor Dr. Anton Caragea had presented the World Best Tourist Destination for 2015 insignia to Prime Minister of Ethiopia- Academician Hailemariam Desalegn.

H.E. ECTT President – Professor Dr. Anton Caragea, Minister of Culture and Tourism – Amin Abdulkadir, H.E. Prime Minister – Academician Hailemariam Desalegn, are directing the proceedings for World Tourism Awards Ceremony for 2015.

The President also presented the main speech of the world tourism ceremony titled: Ethiopia-the land chosen by God!

European Tourism Academy Director- Academician Mircea Constantinescu, announced also that after receiving the letter destined to World Leaders of Tourism-Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will represent Ethiopia, as the newest honorary members of European Tourism Academy. 

Academician Mircea Constantinescu, Director of European Tourism Academy is presenting the Honorary Academician Title to Prime Minister of Ethiopia- Hailemariam Desalegn.

The ceremony for World Best Tourist Destination for 2015 included also folk dances, Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony and academic presentations, supported by leading figures of Ethiopian cultural establishment.

H.E. Prime Minister and Academician Hailemariam Desalegn and European Council on Tourism and Trade President- Professor Dr. Anton Caragea in the center of Ethiopian government and European Council on Tourism and Trade visiting delegation.

The ceremony for World Best Tourist Destination in 2015 was live broadcasted and viewed by more than 200 millions viewers and will continued to be presented across Europe for the next year.

Axum Cathedral: the place of coronation for Emperors of Ethiopia. The last emperor to be crowned here was Haile Selassie I

From 10th July, the European Council on Tourism and Trade President and his delegation embarked in a cultural and tourism program visiting Axum-the first capital of Christian Africa and the centre of a world power in 100 to 400 BC that controlled trade across the Read Sea.

Anton Caragea-President of European Council on Tourism and Trade looking over Axum-the first capital of Ethiopian empire (300 a.Chr.)

In Axum, the delegation visit the royal tombs, the Church of the Arch of Covenant, the Saint Mary Imperial Basilica, where the emperors of Ethiopia were crowned.

Specially for European delegates, were opened the gates of the imperial museum, containing the priceless treasures of ten Ethiopian emperors from garments, to crown adorned with jewels and the robes used for imperial investiture.

 Dances and flowers: welcoming at Gondar airport, European delegates with Mayor Getinet Amare. 

From Axum, the old imperial city, the delegation led by President Anton Caragea has being directed to Gondar, the capital of Ethiopia from XVII century to XIX century.

Here they have a chance to admire the fiery Amharic dances, in a wonderful welcoming ceremony, offered by the local authorities, enjoyed the fabulous gondarine cuisine at famous Four sisters’ restaurant and toured the imperial city.

European Tourism delegation is touring the outstandingly preserved Imperial compound of Gondar- Ethiopian empire capital from 17 to 19 century. Behind is the the world famous Fasil Ghibli-Palace of Emperor Fasilides.

Gondar is also world renamed for his architecture and for housing almost ten emperors, in a period of glory for Abyssinia, as Ethiopia was known in that time.

Garnering Portuguese influence, with Indian and English architectural designs, Gondar is nicknamed as African Camelot for his strange, but perfect architecture.

Welcoming in Lalibela with flowers and the beautiful children of Ethiopia: Anton Caragea- European Tourism President and European Senator Ionel Agrigoroaei.

European Council on Tourism and Trade delegates were received with a religious ceremony in Lalibela, the holiest Christian city in Africa and the second Jerusalem, as in worldly known.

More than 5000 pilgrims, priests and deacons, welcomed President Dr. Anton Caragea and offered to him and his delegation, special ceremonial robes, to mark their entrance in the holy city.

European Tourism President-Dr. Anton Caragea addressing to priests, pilgrims and believers at Lalibela-the capital of Christian Africa.

On this occasion, President Anton Caragea held his gratitude speech known as: To The People of Lalibela, a discourse that quickly captured the imagination of the inhabitants of Lalibela.

An impressive tour of six of the eleven rock hewn churches was conducted, including the famous grave of Saint Lalibela, the church of Medhane Alem (Our Saviour) and Holy Cross Church.

Lalibela is a city greater than words, nothing can prepare you for his atmosphere and nothing can describe it!-President Professor Dr. Anton Caragea.

In the final leg of the trip, European Council on Tourism and Trade President and his party were treated with a wonderful welcoming to the bustling and sunny south of Ethiopia and with his famous Lake District city of Hawassa.

The delegates were welcomed to music and a fire display by the head of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State of Ethiopia and enjoyed a tour of Lake Hawassa, a discovery of the city landmarks and a special night show that touched their hearts.

 Boat trip along the Hawassa lake shores.

The Rift Valley Lakes of Ethiopia are an internal sea, that can be perfectly used for tourism and leisure.

A special surprised was offered by HE. Minister of Culture and Tourism of Ethiopia, Amin Abdulkadir, who arranged for ECTT President Dr. Anton Caragea delegation a special discovery tour of Harar-the fourth most holy Islamic site.

Mihai Prundianu, ECTT Trade Chairman pose for a photo in front of famous Harar landmark-Grand Jami Mosque.

The city comprises more than 82 mosques and 4000 saints tombs known in the Islamic world as Medinat Al Awliya- the city of saints and a UNESCO heritage site.

The delegates were welcomed with a coffee ceremony and a tour of famous city enclosure, known as Jugal, and a visit to famous French poet Arthur Rimbaud house in Harar.

 A short moment of tranquility in a dense schedule: in a famous traditional Gay Ger (house) in Harar.

The visit, to extraordinary city of Harar, was the perfect gift for our delegates, appreciated Professor Dr. Anton Caragea.

The European delegation official visit to Ethiopia is a sign of the country inclusive development, political, clout and prominence in Africa and a mark of the country taking the rightful place that is deserved amidst the most cultural and historical developed country in the world, concluded his remarks, President Professor Dr. Anton Caragea.

The Government of Ethiopia had succeeded in developing the country tourist infrastructure, in insuring security for tourism facilities and is proposing for the next year`s a number of strategic decisions to further develop the country’s tourism sector.

The Government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is anticipating that tourism will become the main country foreign currency earner with the necessary investment in infrastructure, on destination promotion and product development, through the recently established Tourism Transformation Council.


Hawassa City of Diversity

Mrs. Almaz Beyero-Head of Bureau for Culture and Tourism of SNNPRS

Sidamo Cultural Tower

President Anton Caragea at Lalibela Airport

President Dr. Anton Caragea receives Fesil Gebil macheta from Mayor of Gondar-Mr. Getinet Amare

President Dr. Anton Caragea received by Mr. Muhyadin Ahmed-Head of Harari Regional Culture ,Heritage and Tourism Bureau

European Council on Tourism and Trade high ranking delegation at World Best Tourist Destination Ceremony


Supplementary PR information and photos can be accessed here:

Photo Journal of the visit of President Dr. Anton Caragea to Ethiopia

European Delegation Journal of Travel in Ethiopia on Pinterest 



On 11 of July 2015,the European Council on Tourism and Trade delegates where recieved in the medieval capital of Ethiopia: Gondar (Gonder).

The ceremony of welcoming the european delegates, attending WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION CEREMONY for 2015, was directed by the city mayor-Mr. Getinet Amare.

Getinet Amare welcoming European delegation

European delegates are receiving a perfect Amharic traditional welcoming at Gondar Airport.

Taking opportunity of this felicitous occasion Mayor Getinet Amare wanted to give a message to all the world tourists: to come to his wonderful city and to enjoy the heartland of Ethiopia: city of Gonder.

Amhari Dances in Gondar

Amharic dances at celebrated traditional restaurant Four Sisters in Gondar.

Here is the full text of his speech:

Your Excellency Professor Anton Caragea President of European Union Trade and Tourism Council.

Respected Gusts

First of all I would like to express my heart felt gratitude on behalf of the city administration and the people of Gondar for adjusting your precious time for visiting this city which is the center of marvelous culture and heritage.

Gondar was founded in 1636 by Emperor Fasiledes.

Starting this time on wards in became the center of modern architecture. As a result the first and the largest castle was built by the name of king Fasileded – “Fasil Castle”.

Different castles and churches were built accompanied the grandest castle within an area of 70,000 meter square. The birth of such a modern architecture and start of urbanization enabled Gondar to be the center of arts, Orthodox Church education, crafts man ship, trade and exchange which stepped up Gondar in to a ladder to become and serve as a capital city of Ethiopia for more than 200 years.

Gondar the home of a world heritage site since 1978 is 748 kilometers away to the North West direction from the capital city Addis Ababa.

Many of Ethiopian’s impressive tourist sites are within a few hours drive. Bahr Dar, the Island ministries of Lake Tana and the spectacular Blue Nile falls are within 180 kms to the South Gondar.

The Semien Mountains National Park ( a world heritage site ) with its Breath taking scenery and rare and endemic wild life is of only 140 kms to the north of Gondar.

Its altitude ranges from 1900-4620 meters above sea levels it is the highest peak in Ethiopia and the fourth largest mountain in Africa.

Besides Gondar has an easy asphalted road network access to both Lalibela ( the most striking feature and world heritage site ) to the west, Axum ( the world heritage site ) to the north and Gedarif ( the Sudanese city ) to the east respectively currently Gondar has a population of about 368,435 and hence I warmly want to say welcome !

President Dr. Anton Caragea receives Fesil Gebril macheta from Mayor of Gondar-Mr. Getinet Amare

Mayor Getinet Amare and European Councilon Tourism and Trade President holding “Fasil Castle” iron model.

I want to assure you that we are very much happy and feel proud for the reason that our Prime minister, His Excellency Hailemarim Desalegn recived an award of “world Best Tourist Destination Ethiopia – Favorite cultural Destination for 2015” for his recognized dedication to boost tourism development in Ethiopia.

Obviously the current global experience witnesses that tourism is growing to the extent of becoming one of the world’s largest economic sectors.

Its role is so significant in improving gross income and production and in stimulating various economic activities ,creating more employment opportunities and reducing poverty in addition tourism development undoubtedly paves the situation for the development of investment , trade and exchange .

Having this in mind , we are required to guide our strategic and operational plans in a way that help us to maximize our benefit from the sector ; and simultaneously we are also required to work hard to improve and develop the necessary infrastructure, related facilities and addressing the needs of tourists.

So , we hope ! Planned and controlled expansion and growth of tourism will be achievable through enhancing and maintaining common interest and partnerships.

Wish you a pleasant stay in Gondar.

Getinet Amare

Gondar City Mayor