The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) will this year launch the Nyaminyami Festival in Kariba as part of its strategy to market the country’s tourism destinations.
The move is also expected to have a positive impact on the economy following successes registered during the Harare International Carnival.
A recent study has shown that the economic impact of the Harare International Carnival in 2017 was more than $30 million, up from about $18 million in 2015. It is hoped that the festivals and events will grow into multi-million dollar support pillars for Zimbabwe’s economy, while helping position the country as a destination of choice.
ZTA chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke said the Nyaminyami Festival had the potential to grow into a mega event in four years.
“Carnivals are for entertainment, but they also have socio-cultural impacts,” he said. “This year, we are going to have in Kariba the Nyaminyami Festival, which we are launching soon.
“We hope we will grow it, bit by bit, and that by the third or fourth year, it will have a lot of people coming from outside Kariba, especially beyond the borders.”
Mashonaland West Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Webster Shamu recently raised concern that little was being done to market Kariba as a tourist destination.
The town has dropped out of Zimbabwe’s top five tourist destinations.
Turning to the Harare International Carnival, Mr Kaseke said if the momentum is maintained, the festival will rake in over $100 million in the next few years. Plans, he said, were to make the festival the biggest event in Southern Africa, drawing inspiration from the Brazilian Rio Carnival, which rakes in around $3 billion a year.
“The Harare International Carnival is something we are still developing and the economic impact could be visibly seen because most products disappeared from the shelves and hotels were fully booked,” he said.
“If we have managed $30 million at this stage, it is possible to grow the carnival to $100 million. Carnivals can do a lot of good for a destination.”
As a result of the success of the carnival, Zimbabwe received the Socrates Award for innovation from the European Business Council.