By Brian T Manyati
This year’s Harare International Carnival is billed to be the biggest of all on the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority’s calender events, and will give Zimbabweans from all walks of life a typical Afro-Brazilian street parade, and 40 separate block parties on October 20.
The upcoming 5th edition of the Harare International Carnival promises to be one hell of the rare joyous moments on the Zimbabwe’s happiness index. The first edition was held in May 2013.
The ZTA held a press conference in Harare this week, and the authority told journalists that it was ready to bring happiness to Zimbabwe.
Not only did the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer Karikoga Kaseke take time to address the gathering media, but the new Honorable Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Prisca Mupfumira did the same.
The HIC was voted the biggest carnival in Africa last year, by the inter-continental awarding firm Socrates World Events.
On answering the “show me the money questions” media heard that banking on their consistency and event popularity to both invitees, global stakeholders, and the participant populace the ZTA is earmarking the event will gross above USD50 million.
However last year the HIC only managed a paltry $22 million, much below ZTA’s expectations in comparison to $30 million in 2015.
Brazil’s Rio, the biggest and richest carnival grossed nearly $3.8 billion only last year, a figure close to Zimbabwe`s national budget revenue target annually over the recent years consecutively.
Away from financial gain to Zimbabwe, the HIC is however, instrumental in employment creation, increasing the happiness index, uniting and healing hearts and minds of peace loving Zimbabweans, presenting and preserving the cultural heritage of Zimbabwe, increasing brand visibility by showcasing the brand Zimbabwe in procession, and a strategic tool for destination Zimbabwe`s transformation.
Celebrating hopes and aspirations for a New Zimbabwe
The ZTA chief took a relativist approach to ethics as regards moralistic issues such as the invitation of popular and equally controversial characters by indicating that at the end of itall ZTA sees nothing wrong with such invitees attending freely and that this time around both the parent ministry and his entity where speaking with one voice on contentious and moralistic issues.
It was noted from the ZTA CEO that the 70 years Noting Hill Carnival is now a reputed employer of numerous people with the possibility that so many people earn a living from that carnival alone.
The Zimbabwe Digital News being part of the attending media would like to congratulate both ZTA for their consistency and a never give up attitude, and the newly appointed Minister for, in quick time, actively supporting and laying out a firm foundation for this upcoming national event which has been postponed before for coinciding with the political activities build up towards the recently ended presidential and parliamentary elections.
As regards the HIC another date shift has been made from the previously proposed 13th of October 2018 to the now affirmed 20th of October the reason being to do give way to the ZRP’s Police Commissioner Fun Fare Day also deemed an important calendar year activity.
The ZTA CEO expressed “adequate police presence will be needed too at the HIC so the two cannot coincide”.
The general public member proposed theme for this year`s HIC is “Celebrating hopes & aspirations for a New Zimbabwe” coming from one Rastafarian Chamunorwa Mashoko, the media heard.
Only one week is to go before it is cast in stone that it holds as is with no further changes to proposed theme.
The Minister announced that the Ashanti King of Ghana is coming, famed the most powerful traditional king in Africa.
A market representative attended to affirm this position at the media briefing. AFRIMA Nigeria is coming with the “Turn Up Africa Concert” live performances during the Harare International Carnival.
The ZTA CEO announced that so far, 19 countries have confirmed participation. The likes of Angola, Cuba, Brazil, China, Egypt, Trinidad & Tobago, USA, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland to mention but a few are coming.
The Germans too, though it was duly noted that they have been affected by the first postponement of the event having paid up in full their representatives tickets and actually travelling to Zimbabwe in July 2018, at the last pronounced date before, unaware of the alterations that had come into effect.
In addition, 35 traditional groups, 28 contemporary art groups, 36 secondary schools, 12 tertiary institutions, 30 corporate entities, and 40 private persons for block parties have so far registered with ZTA for the event.
Other key issues that were raised at the media event were to do with the cholera pandemic now declared a national disaster, affordable accommodation for both foreign and local visitors.
In response Kaseke, indicated that he had faith in the Ministry of Healths measures aimed at addressing or containing the epidemic and that ZTA will also put up a health sub-committee to keep any eye on the matter.
On hotel accommodation his sentiment was that October to December annually is in general a peak season characterized by full bookings, therefore it was not easy to have them reducing prices as this may be their own way of demand management, however, everyone willing was welcome to organize alternative accommodation with ZTA`s help.
The Zimbabwe Digital News also took note that vendors, journalists, groups that participate at the HIC are supposed to be registered with the ZTA. The state owned Net One is this year`s headline sponsor of the HIC.
Comment on this report: Call/text/whatsapp: (+27) 834767918