Harare -- The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has pushed forward dates for this year’s Harare International Carnival, to pave way for two other equally important events on the tourism calendar.
Seeing that the ZTA was also seized with two events, the Youth in Tourism Conference scheduled for Bulawayo and the Zimbabwe Council of Tourism Indaba scheduled for Victoria Falls in September, the carnival was postponed to the first week of October instead of July 17-21.
Initially, the week-long carnival had been scheduled to precede the July 30 general elections, something which caused logistical nightmares for the ZTA as it was also in the middle of winter.
The world over carnivals are held in summer when fans take to the streets dressed to the nines.
Announcing the new dates last week, ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke said following wide consultations with the Tourism and Hospitality Ministry, they decided to move the carnival dates to the first week of October.
“This year’s carnival is going ahead. We had agreed with the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality (Prisca Mupfumira) to host it on September 19, but there is a big gathering for Youth in Tourism in Bulawayo and we have to be there,” Kaseke said.
“The week that follows it will be Tourism Week, we are wanted in Victoria Falls by the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism. They have a special event that our minister must attend as guest of honour.
“So we have decided that the carnival be held in the first week of October.”
Mupfumira also reiterated that the carnival was equally as important as the other two major events.
The euphoria usually associated with the run-up to the event, which drew many stakeholders including the highly-popular samba dancers from Brazil, has been conspicuously absent.
The week-long annual fiesta encompasses a series of events and festivities aimed at advancing the country’s arts, culture and heritage.
The Harare International Carnival has become a must-attend event on the Zimbabwe entertainment calendar drawing multitudes of festival goers from across the religious and political divide.
Besides the Brazilian samba dancers who are popular at the carnival, there have been a number of big names on the line-up, including Congolese rhumba star Werrason, and Jah Prayzah.
The Harare International Carnival was launched in April 2014 attracting 10 000 people from all walks of life.
At least 15 countries from all over the world attended. The official opening witnessed the historic march of the participants for four kilometres from the city centre in Africa Unity Square at the heart of the central business district through Jason Moyo Street to the Glamis Arena.