The ECTT-European Council on Tourism and Trade Cultural Tourism Awards FAVORITE CULTURAL DESTINATION is recognizing the best national practice in cultural and historical tourism within the world tourism globally, based upon the principles of protection of humanity cultural patrimony, cultural preservation, educational value of tourism; national support for the protection of cultural and natural heritage; and direct benefits to the social and economic well-being of local people in travel destinations around the world.
Together with WORLD TOURISM DESTINATION status these annual awards are representing the highest accolades in the world cultural and tourism community and represent the desired standards in tourism development.
On 12 June 2016 on the debate for the WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD FOR 2016 saw Professor Dr. Anton Caragea, President of European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) presenting the main report, encompassing the decision that emerged as the victorious candidate.
The report was titled: CAMBODIA: THE LAND OF MAGIC- THE PLACE WHERE GOD`S AND KINGS BUILD THE WORLD!
He proposed the Kingdom of CAMBODIA as the winner of WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2016 and as receiver of the FAVORITE CULTURAL DESTINATION distinction for 2016.
The report noted the reasons for awarding WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2016 PRIZE to CAMBODIA:
The excellent preservation of humanity landmarks such as: the Temple of Preah Vihear- the heart of ancient Indochina.
The temple outstanding history can be traced to the 9th century, when the hermitage was founded.
Today the site is particularly well-preserved and is offering to the visitors an outstanding vision of grandeur, thanks to his exceptional for the quality of its architecture, which is adapted to the natural environment and the religious function of the temple, as well as for the exceptional quality of its carved stone ornamentation.
The Siem Reap province is home to the majestically and unique Angkor Archaeological Park - the residence of the Khmers Kings from 9th to 15th century.
Today this incredible humanity legacy, stretching over some 400 sq.km, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century.
They include the famous Temple of Angkor Watt and Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations.
All this sites were recognized as being of world significance and registered as UNESCO World heritage monuments.
Angkor Thom a temple of world significance and registered as UNESCO World heritage monument
The rich cultural and historical legacy of Cambodia is not limited to the previous presented list.
In order to fully grasp the natural potential of Cambodia natural parks and natural reservations we must look at the potential of these regions designated in 1993 Royal Decree on the Protection of Natural Areas.
They are encompassing 23 protected areas, which at the time covered more than 18% of the country’s total land area. The royal decree divides the areas into four distinct categories: natural parks (sometimes described as ‘national parks’), wildlife preserves, protected scenic view areas (sometimes described as ‘protected landscapes’) and multi-purpose areas.
Cambodia is also home to rarely and valuable Ramsar sites rated accordingly to RAMSAR CONVENTION of June 1999:
A stretch along the Mekong River approximately 37 km long and 14,600 hectares in Stung Treng Province.
Boeng Chhmar and associated river system and floodplain, 28,000 hectares in Kampong Thom and Siem Reap provinces (part of a designated multiple use area)
Koh Kapik and associated islets, 12,000 hectares in Koh Kong province (part of a designated wildlife sanctuary).
Giving tourists access to outstanding and pristine nature and the opportunity to explore nature, to contribute to ecological preservation, and the opportunity to visit extraordinary places.
All these regions and national parks are a model of achieving ecological and green tourism that must be recognized throughout the world.
New prominent landmarks are to be added to UNESCO list such as: Angkor Borei and Phnom Da, the former celebrated as the ancient capital of Kingdom of Cambodia under the name of Vyadhapura and pace at the confluence of Mekong and Stun Sla Ku. This is now home to perfect archaeological treasures like sculptures and stones star-shaped called stela.
Phnom Da is famous for his caves, the mud tower and the all sought Ashram Maha Rosei, made in long standing stone and celebrated as a model of architectural ingenuity made out of interior monk housing units blending in the exterior wall.
Udong is the former capital of Royal Cambodia in 17th century from 1740 to 1746.
Udong is now a perfect example of a sprawling royal city, but also a royal necropolis gathering the funerary temples of kings that offered to Cambodia a chance of survival in the country darkest times.
Udong is the proof of the resilience and endurance of Khmer spirit in time of peril and dangers.
The project ONE VILLAGE/ONE PRODUCT designed to promote social fair tourism, to sustain rural production and to bring about the rebirth of traditional craftsmanship created and promoted by H.E. Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN, Prime Minister of Cambodia , is a perfect way of sharing revenue, growing income and supporting marginal and rural communities development.
The way in which social-tourism has become the base for local economic development, for empowerment of remote community and supporting educational and vocational projects benefiting the communities, makes social-fair tourism, the lesson that today-the KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA is offering to the world.
The Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations had brought Cambodia on the list of WORLD BEST TOURISM DESTINATIONS
The ongoing development and protection of cultural, religious and historical shrines of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the transformation of Angkor Region into a historical and spiritual center, offering to the visitors a glimpse into rich culture and heritage of peoples of Cambodia.
Angkor must be the world center of religious pilgrimage and cultural tourism offering to world tourists the complex healing experience of cultural legacy, religious special atmosphere and faith imbued air.
The preservation of outstanding historical and cultural heritage in the form of the former capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Angkor cultural complex, an ample palatial complex from the 9th Century, offering an incredible sense of magnificence of one of the Asia greatest empire.
Today, Cambodia offers tourists bound for the country a rich and perfect open air collection with a rare presence of historical and archaeological treasures that educate and enrich the world.
The KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA is also a perfect center for river trips 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 river destinations that make the KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA as a perfect cultural class destination.
Concluding the World Tourism Institution debates, President Dr. Anton Caragea asked for a final vote and European Council on Tourism and Trade Assembly unanimously, agreed to bestow the WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION STATUS FOR 2016 TO KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA and to declare CAMBODIA- THE FAVORITE CULTURAL DESTINATION in 2016.
Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple and Udong Mountain-landmark monuments of world significance and registered as UNESCO World heritage monument
LAOS FAVORITE CULTURAL AND WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2013 ATTRACTED 40 INTERNATIONAL HOTEL`S
LAOS-World Best Tourist Destination for 2013. Ceremony held in Vientiane.
After being elected WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2013 and Favorite Cultural Destination in 2013 Laos has become a beacon of tourism in the Indochina region.
Already 40 hotels, including five international chains, are scheduled to open in Laos over the next five years as the country becomes a more popular tourist destination.
Yang Fu Ning, general manager of Don Chan Palace, a luxury hotel in Vientiane, said international brands Ramada, InterContinental, Crown Plaza, Sofitel and Marriott were set to open hotels in the capital by 2019.
Three global brands - Mercure, Ibis and Best Western - have already opened their doors in Vientiane, and one regional brand has entered the World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang to cash in the World Best Tourist Destination status of the country.
Furthermore, 25-30 three- and four-star hotels are set to open in the capital, with some in other tourist cities.
In the first year after receiving World`s Favorite Cultural Destination " we registered 3.7 million arrivals last year, generating income of US$600 million.
The government aims for 3.9 million tourists this year.
The number of arrivals should reach 10 million within five years but we need another success in WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION competition to consolidate our status.
The number of American and European tourists has significantly increased in recent years, after the European Council on Tourism and Trade accolade according to informations from Minister of Culture, Informations and Tourism leaded by European Academician Bosengkham Vongdara.
Currently, seven foreign airlines, including Thai Airways International, AirAsia and Bangkok Airways, and two local carriers are operating in and out Laos.
Some of these airlines run charter flights during high season.
European Council on Tourism and Trade named Laos the "World's Best Tourist Destination for 2013", which put the country on the global tourism map especially for its rich history, culture, traditions and natural beauty.
EUROPEAN TOURISM ACADEMY
Favorite Cultural Destination is carved by
European Council on Tourism and Trade for destinations who promote their
cultural and historical patrimony, who put their unique community and
environment at the center of memorable tourism experiences; countries that put
in place policies to use tourism to make them better places for people to live
in and better places for people to visit.