Liberty Dube Mutare Bureau
Tourism players in Manicaland are ready for the forthcoming Harare International Carnival and are optimistic the fiesta will play a critical role in marketing the Eastern Highlands as home to some of the most outstanding tourism places in the country.
The 10-day jamboree will be held from September 1 to 10 and is set to promote domestic tourism.
Eastern Highlands is home to scenic sites such as Chimanimani Mountains, Nyanga Mountain, Nyanga National Park, Vumba Botanical Gardens and Vumba Mountains, as well as Mtarazi Falls and Bridal Veil Falls in Honde Valley and Chimanimani. It also houses world-class hotels such as Golden Peacock Villa, White Horse Inn, Leopard Rock, Forest Hills, Holiday Inn, Troutbeck Inn and Eden Lodge.
“No doubt, the carnival is going to be successful and the benefits are also going to cascade to the Eastern Highlands,” said White Horse Inn co-director, Mr Frank Marembo.
“We have been lagging behind as far as marketing is concerned and we believe this is an ideal opportunity for us to market our products and services to old and new local and international clients. We expect some visitors from across the world to visit this part of the country, something which we believe will play a critical role in demystifying the myth that Zimbabwe is an unsafe tourism destination.”
Mr Willard Madhombiro of Golden Peacock Villa Hotel said: “I believe the broad tourism industry will benefit from the event. As tourism players, there is need to craft some tour packages aimed at marketing tourism services and products in our province.
“The carnival has become an annual event that allows the destination to interact with regional and international markets, hence it is a platform to market our products to the world for the visitors to visit the Eastern Highlands.
“It is one event that has a multiplier effect in the sense that quite a number of service providers such as hotels, local restaurants, retail shops and street vendors will benefit.”
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Manicaland chairperson Mr Clive Chinwada said the province would benefit immensely from the carnival.
“Globally, such carnivals always yield positive results in the long run,” he said.
“As Eastern Highlands, it is important for us to meet the international audience and market our products.
“It is also important to offer lucrative services and packages to woo them to visit the eastern border city. We are upbeat that we will benefit from the fiesta through marketing.”
The Harare International Carnival is expected to draw more than three million people from across the world. Zimbabwe Tourism Authority head of corporate affairs Mr Sugar Chagonda urged tourism players in the Eastern Highlands to capitalise on the carnival by marketing their services and products.
He said: “Eastern Highlands plays a critical role in the country’s tourism and their presence (at the carnival) is crucial. We urge them to come in their numbers and be part of the annual fair.”