The Miss Tourism Zimbabwe pageant has been broken down into three different categories to conform to the international paradigm, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has said.
This means the pageant winner will be called Miss Zimbabwe, while what used to be the first princess will be Miss Tourism Zimbabwe (MTZ) and the second princess Miss Universe Zimbabwe .
The three will represent the country in their respective categories on the global arena.
ZTA spokesperson Sugar Chagonda confirmed that Miss Zimbabwe will represent the country at Miss World, Miss Tourism-Zimbabwe will feature at the Miss Tourism International while Miss Universe-Zimbabwe will attend Miss Universe World.
He said the move was in line with the modern trends of other pageants worldwide.
ZTA took over what was then known as Miss Zimbabwe in 2006 and renamed the event Miss Tourism Zimbabwe, hoping to use the pageant to market Zimbabwe, which had become an international pariah because of a messy human rights record, mainly to a world sceptical about the country.
Meanwhile, preparations for this year’s Miss Tourism Zimbabwe final are at an advanced stage, with 36 contestants expected to camp in Harare from January 28 until February 13.
The finals have been slated for February 12 at the Harare International Conference Centre.
Miss G-Tide Face of Zimbabwe, who will be selected by members of the public through a vote, will be crowned at the finale.
There has been an increase in the number of contestants from Bulawayo and Harare as five ladies will represent each city from the traditional three.
Five lucky ladies from the “Friday Girl”, a weekly photo contest run by a local tabloid, will join the other contestants for the Miss Tourism Zimbabwe finale.
Also, the top three contestants from the Miss Universities contest which was held last year will compete on February 12.
Meanwhile, the entertainment line-up for the event is still being finalised but Chagonda said there would be a massive after- party as it will have a Valentine’s Day theme.
“Since Valentine’s Day will be on the Monday after the MTZ weekend, we have decided to spoil our revellers by giving the pageant a Valentine flavour,” he said.
Last year, Samantha Tshuma from Bulawayo was crowned Miss Tourism Zimbabwe after competing against 30 beauties nationwide. She walked away with a Lexus, cash prizes and trips to foreign countries.