NEWLY appointed Minister of Tourism, Environment and Hospitality Industry Edgar Mbwembwe hit the ground running yesterday, asserting government’s commitment to support the hosting of the Miss Tourism Zimbabwe (MTZ) beauty pageant this year.
Speaking at an MTZ press briefing in Harare yesterday, the minister who took over from Walter Mzembi (now Foreign Affairs minister) after President Mugabe reshuffled the Cabinet on Monday said government would keep supporting the pageant as it is a way of boosting the country’s tourism.
MTZ will be held on December 9 at the Harare International Conference Centre.
“I want to assure you that government fully supports Miss Tourism and our expectation is that the event will continue to register great success notwithstanding the challenges of funding that you experience.
“Pageants are popular world over for boosting tourism as they create a good image of the country,” said Minister Mbwembwe.
In attendance was his deputy Anastasia Ndlovu, MTZ patron Barbara Mzembi, Harare Metropolitan Minister Miriam Chikukwa and outgoing Miss Tourism Ashley Morgan.
Minister Mbwembwe urged the private sector to support the pageant in order to make it a success.
“We note that there’s limited investment in beauty pageants in Zimbabwe and I therefore urge the private sector and corporates to tango with you (MTZ) to support the event financially and materially.
“There’s so much value you (corporates and business) can derive from associating yourself with Miss Tourism Zimbabwe,” he said.
During the briefing, the MTZ Trust announced through their new spokesperson Spencer Manyembe that preparations for this year’s edition were in full swing.
“Miss Tourism Zimbabwe 2016 was a resounding success, thanks to the support of various stakeholders. We’re pleased to announce that Miss Tourism 2017 preparations are in motion and are flowing smoothly,” said Manyembe.
As part of the preparations, national auditions will be held as from tomorrow to Sunday in Harare at the Andy Miller Hall from 8AM to 6PM.
The MTZ received over 200 applicants from aspiring models nationwide. From the 200, a few will be shortlisted for another round of casting this weekend.
Like last year, the minimum requirement will be an ‘A’ Level certificate, with certificates of diplomas or degrees being an added advantage.
On November 4, the top 15 from the national auditions will be unveiled. They will be expected to attend boot camp from November 25 in preparation for the finale on December 9.
Manyembe said last year’s main sponsor of the pageant, Big Time Strategic Group will not be sponsoring the event this year, but another sponsor who is being kept under wraps has come on board.