By Daniel Chigundu
ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Karikoga Kaseke says the just ended 4th edition of Harare International Carnival was a success from a business point of view.
The Carnival which started on the 1st of September to the 10th saw a number of internationals (300 delegates from 25 countries) and over 100 local groups participating in various activities that range from musical shows, cultural displays and finally the street party.
Many people have been taking to the social media to question the benefits that the country derives from the carnival, with others saying it’s nothing more than a show that promotes immorality in the country.
However, in an interview, Dr Kaseke said hotels and other downstream businesses had recorded brisk businesses during the duration of the week-long entertainment jamboree.
“I can tell you that you will not find a single room in Harare, there are no more rooms, and all the hotels are fully booked.
“It’s not hotels alone, even lodges too they are fully booked so from a business point of view, the hotels and other downstream businesses recorded brisk business because of carnival,” he said.
In 2015, Harare International Carnival saw the country recording about US$21 million in tourism receipts just in one week of the event.
During the official opening ceremony of the carnival, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said a carnival is an effective tool for tourism development because of downstream benefits it brings to the economy.
“This is an effective tool for the development of domestic and international tourism. Many countries across the globe have adopted the Carnival concept because of these and other downstream benefits.
“Carnivals are meant to make a country a more exciting tourist destination offering business and social interaction opportunities for local people and our esteemed visitors,” he said.
The Harare International Carnival was almost cancelled due to lack of funds needed to hosting and it had to take government’s intervention to bring it back online.
Vice President told delegates that government will continue to support the hosting of the event going forward, adding that people must take it as a business engagement opportunity.
“…Whilst the carnival might be viewed as a form of entertainment and cultural showcase, I want to urge the participants to also use it as a convenient platform for business engagement and exchange notes on culture, trade, tourism and potential investments,” he said.