BY NHAU MANGIRAZI
TOURISM and Hospitality Industry minister Prisca Mupfumira has challenged the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) to revive the Nyaminyami festival, whose cultural diversity, she said, entices international tourists.
In her address to stakeholders over the weekend in Kariba, Mupfumira urged the ZTA to work closely with other stakeholders for the revival of the festival she described as “a must” for the resort town and the nation at large.
“Zimbabwe has been named as third placed nation to visit in 2019. Tourists come here to see wildlife along the Zambezi Valley as well as Kariba Dam, so we must capitalise on these opportunities,” she said.
“Kariba, through Nyaminyami festival, has the potential to revive our economy. Its cultural diversity is unique and as Nyaminyami, it is rich culturally so we must not miss it,” she said.
Mupfumira said the arrival of more tourists would revive the economy as the nation is gaining strides as a safe destination due to its natural resources, hospitality and conservancy.
Nyaminyami festival founder, Cephas Shonhiwa, acknowledged that they had faced some constraints due to the prevailing economic challenges.
“Of late, there was no government commitment and support for the festival. They (government) must take the leading role in mobilising resources and market the festival nationally, regionally and internationally. This can be done through provision of logistical support to those experienced in handling such festivals,” he said.
“The public announcement made by the minister (Mupfumira) gives us hope and we are committed on our part as the Kariba community to host the event that provides cultural richness and history,” he added.
ZTA spokesperson Godfrey Koti said the Nyaminyami festival was on this year as it was already on their festivals calendar, also adding that preparations for the festival were underway.
“As ZTA, we are setting the ball rolling and look forward to see the Nyaminyami festival this year and it will remain as an annual event as a long-lasting venture for our tourism sector,” he said.
“Zimbabwe has the potential to remain on the world market as this festival is one of the drawing cards, where we package and sell a good product to our international market. It is an opportune time to work with other stakeholders, especially the Kariba community so that it is a success story.”
Zimbabwe had slipped from its tourism ranking in early 2000 following the chaotic land reform and the resultant violence, but of late the international community had shown some interest in visiting the country.