'Zim ready for carnival week'

HARARE - Zimbabwe is now ready to host people from all walks of life for this year’s edition of the Harare International Carnival scheduled for May 16 to 24.

Officially launching the carnival in the capital on Thursday, Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni predicted a massive turnout to this year’s edition of the Harare International Carnival.

“I heartily welcome our foreign visitors and participants to this year’s edition of the Harare International Carnival.

“The conveners of the Carnival could not have chosen any better venue other than Harare. We are looking forward to reclaiming our world acclaimed Sunshine City status,” says Manyenyeni.

“I am pleased that this event is going to be a permanent feature on the yearly calendar of events for Harare. In future, the city is indeed going to factor in the hosting of this cultural event in its yearly budget.”

The mayor noted that Harare was not only the capital city of Zimbabwe but also the cultural capital of the nation judging by the number of high profile cultural activities that take place each year.

He said plans were afoot to place the Harare International Carnival on the international carnival calendar as part of broader steps to brand Harare as a both a regional and international tourist destination.

“Harare residents should come out in droves to witness world-acclaimed Samba dancers from Brazil among other cultural groups from within and outside Africa.

“Let Harare rock! We have given you the streets. Let us all forget our hardships and take this as an opportunity to showcase our lovely Harare and of course, Zimbabwe,” he said.

Speaking at the same occasion Tourism minister, Walter Mzembi, said he expected the annual event to grow into a sustainable and viable national event supported by talent, expertise, skills and knowledge that is uniquely Zimbabwean.

“It is our fervent hope and vision that the carnival will deliver considerable economic benefits, not only to the host city, but to the entire country and become an essential stimulus to business growth.

“Carnival is big business which, in my view, can only be advanced through the creation of sustainable partnerships between the public and the private sector including the media,” he said.

It is through such practical synergies, Mzembi said, that the Harare International Carnival can attract tourists to Harare and other parts of Zimbabwe and derive economic benefits for the country.

Karikoga Kaseke, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive said this year’s carnival, which coincides with Africa Day commemorations, will see at least 23 countries converging in the capital for the week-long activities.

“This is an increase from last year’s edition where we hosted 14 countries.

“ This proves that the event is a melting pot of cultural experiences attracting global carnivalists to Harare,” he said.

The tourism boss, who is expecting over 600 000 people to throng the streets of Harare, urged Zimbabweans to come out in their numbers and participate in this year’s carnival.

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