By Daniel Chigundu
ZIMBABWE Council of Tourism (ZCT) chief executive Paul Matamisa says contrary to what other people think, Carnival is actually business especially if it is managed and organised well.
Matamisa’s statement comes on the backdrop of criticism that the Harare International Carnival has received from some other members of society, who have questioned its benefit to the economy and country.
Addressing the media, the ZCT chief executive said countries, where Carnival originates from, have been able to develop carnival economies and that also helps people to forget their problems for a while.
“The important thing about Carnival is that it is business, in countries where it is well organised there are actually carnival economies and it also brings happiness, people tend to forget about their problems so it’s good and it should continue.
“In tourism, it is a business because it brings people from across the country and those from other countries and this year 26 countries have confirmed their participation.
“It’s a good event, and as an industry, we will support it and we want to put packages that are welcoming not only to local people but also those that will come from other countries,” he said.
Earlier this year, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Dr Karikoga Kaseke revealed that in 2015 when the event was last held, the tourism industry registered about US$21 million in tourism receipts and that this year they are expecting the figure to go high.
According to Dr Kaseke, they are expecting to attract at least three million people to the carnival street party and have since dubbed the “three-million ma-march”.
Meanwhile, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi has said its time that Carnival is taken to other cities and towns as well.
“I would like to see this concept of celebration in various districts across the country just like what they do in Cuba.
“What is good for Harare should also be good for Masvingo, it should also be good for Victoria Falls and also good for Kariba,” he said.
The need to decentralise major activities to other parts of the country was introduced in 2015 by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he relocated Sanganai/Hlanganani from Harare to Bulawayo.-