Harare International Carnival major boost for local tourism
Minister Walter Mzembi Minister Walter Mzembi says the ongoing Harare International Carnival is set to boost the country’s local tourism with more than three million people expected to attend.
The 10 day carnival was graced by various performances by local and foreign artists drawn from 26 countries which include Trinidad and Tobago, Ethiopia, Egypt, Malawi, China, Burundi, Portugal and Cuba, among others.
Running under the theme, One Love, Our Unity, Our Pride, the carnival kicked off last Friday with a bira (traditional ceremony) in Domboshava. Block parties were also held in various areas in the city before the major street party on Saturday.
Mzembi, who was addressing journalists on Monday, said players in the tourism sector must also invest in the carnival for them to receive gains.
“Harare this week will record increased traffic from across the country and beyond borders with people coming specifically to attend the carnival. On this end I want to implore hospitality industry players to give people coming for the carnival special and affordable packages, this will encourage people to keep coming,” he said.
The Minister said in the next five to 10 years the carnival was set to yield tangible results.
“Government believes in the power of the carnival, particularly its potential to generate the much needed revenue for the country. All the economic benefits we project will be a function of how much we invest in it going forward. It remains imperative for government and other departments to continue nurturing this project if the country is to realise meaningful gains from it in the next coming years,” said Mzembi.
He also encouraged carnival organisers to host the carnival in other cities of the country in order to increase accessibility of the annual event.
This year’s edition of the Harare International Carnival was expected to bring in an estimated $50 million and Zimbabweans have been urged to support the event not just as a social programme but an important economic activity.
Worldwide, carnivals promote significant economic activity in a range of sectors in the local economy such as entertainment, media, hospitality and retail sectors.
Business opportunities are also generated for musicians, dancers and designers.
On a larger scale, carnivals can facilitate and promote meaningful opportunities for dialogue and networking to increase collaboration between tourism executives and carnival coordinating committees with interested private sector stakeholders servicing the industry.
Additionally, carnivals also provide free marketing and advertising for local businesses as visitors talk about their fun experiences when they go back to their countries.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer, Karikoga Kaseke, urged Zimbabweans to attend the various carnival shows.
“People must come out in their numbers to support the carnival which is going to offer various forms of entertainment. We have also engaged the police to allow people to party without much restriction during the carnival period,” said Kaseke.
Some of the musicians who performed at the carnival included Jah Prayzah, Soul Jah Love, Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi, Winky D, Sandra Ndebele, South African’s Babes Wodumo, Oskido and Uhuru.