BY SINDISO DUBE
Preparations for this year’s Miss Tourism Zimbabwe pageant have been hampered by the economic downturn in the country, resulting in the Matabeleland North organisers cancelling their edition following the pullout by sponsors.
The provincial finals are set for Saturday at Invuvu Bar in Victoria Falls, with at least 20 beauties expected to battle it out for the ticket to the national finals, where reigning queen lawyer Tafadzwa Jaricha will hand over her crown.
The pageant organiser for Matabeleland North, Shauntel Nkomo, revealed to Southern Eye Lifestyle that she almost threw in the towel after major partners pulled out at the 11th hour.
“We have had a problem with our sponsors and other partners, who we were in talks with and had reached a consensus with. They pulled out because of the crumbling economy. That left
us struggling to put the event together. Believe me, we almost cancelled the pageant, but we had to make do with what we had. At the end of the day, we have to get it done and not
disadvantage the Matabeleland North girl,” she said.
Nkomo said the situation was bad for everyone and every sector, as they had seven sponsors who pulled out despite some of them having been on board last year.
“For instance, we had engaged a transport company who had pledged to transport our finalists from outside Victoria Falls, but after fuel price hikes, they requested that our finalists
pay at least half the bus fare. When prizes changed to only United States dollars. our transport partner totally pulled out,” she said.
However, Nkomo said the event would go on as planned on Saturday, adding they were ready to crown a beauty who would go on to face other provincial finalists at the national event.
“On Saturday, we will select our finalists who will go on to contest in the national finals. We are confident that we have the quality in Matabeleland North. I am excited that this
year, more people are having a positive attitude towards the show and modelling, including grooming in general,” she said.
Twenty beauties from Victoria Falls, Lupane, Hwange, Dete and Monde will battle it out for three positions that would see the three going through to the finals.