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At least 23 African, Asian, European and South American countries will participate at the Harare International Carnival next month. Addressing journalists in Harare on Thursday night, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi said several countries had confirmed participation.”To date, 23 countries, which include Brazil, Malawi, the DRC, Egypt, Botswana, Nigeria and the UK, to mention but a few, have confirmed their participation as well as several local groups comprising traditional, contemporary and corporate troupes,” Minister Mzembi said.

He said this was testimony that the carnival was growing every year.

Minister Mzembi noted that the world over, carnivals — also known as street parties — contributed immensely to economic growth.

“Our tourism industry and hospitality related service industries will be the major beneficiaries from the projected influx of visitors attending this event,” he said.

He said the manufacturing sector would also benefit by supplying various goods.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke said carnivals had proven to be essential for destination marketing and tourism promotion.

“It is clear that carnivals have become sustainable marketing vehicles that harbour great potential to steer economic growth,” he said.

Mr Kaseke said last year 14 countries attended and between 600 000 to one million people attended the inaugural carnival. He expects the figures to increase.

This year’s carnival runs from May 16 to 26 under the theme “Celebrating our Diversity”.

Countries such as Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago also hold carnivals annually.

According to research, three weeks’ revenue from Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival exceeds US$100 million.

Source : The Herald