Liberty Dube Entertainment Correspondent
ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority will this weekend activate the carnival mood ahead of the fun-filled Harare International Carnival scheduled for next week when they meet residents and tourism players in Mutare tomorrow (Saturday).
The 10-day jamboree will be held from September 1 to 10 and is set to promote domestic tourism and market the Eastern Highlands as home to some of the most outstanding tourism places in the country.
In an interview, ZTA head of corporate affairs Sugar Chagonda said descending to the eastern border city will be an “activation trip” to conscientise people about the socio-economic importance of the carnival to the people of Manicaland and Zimbabweans at large.
ZTA, who are expected to partner local popular radio station Diamond FM, will hold roadshows in Mutare’s Central Business District as well as in the sprawling suburbs of Dangamvura and Chikanga.
“We want to let people in Mutare know about the carnival menu and encourage them to be part of the fiesta. No doubt, the Eastern Highlands plays a critical role in the country’s tourism and their presence will be crucial. The carnival will play a critical role in destination marketing and, in this case, the Eastern Highlands will directly benefit through tourism business.
“Yes, there will be lots of fun as an array of local, regional and international artistes will perform, but we can’t ignore the tourism business of it. It is time for the Eastern Highlands to market their services and products to the world,” said Mr Chagonda.
So far 23 countries, which include Brazil, India, Egypt, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo, have confirmed participation.
Mr Chagonda said they were expecting 25 countries and 100 groups to participate at this year’s potentially explosive event.
The Samba Night and Street Party to be held on September 8 and 9 respectively are some of the major highlights of the carnival. Democratic Republic of Congo rhumba musician Werrason, Jah Prayzah, Winky D, Suluman Chimbetu, Dr Malinga, Busiswa, Kalawa, Uhuru, Zodwa Wabantu, Soul Jah Love, Jayz Marabini, Sandra Ndebele, Baba and Mai Charamba are expected to take turns to entertain carnival-goers.
The Eastern Highlands is home to scenic sites such as Chimanimani Mountains, Nyanga Mountain and National Park, Bvumba Botanical Gardens and Bvumba Mountains, as well as Mtarazi Falls and Bridal Veil Falls in Honde Valley and Chimanimani.
It also boasts a numver of world-class hotels such as Golden Peacock Villa, White Horse Inn, Leopard Rock, Forest Hills, Holiday Inn, Troutbeck Inn and Eden Lodge among others.