THE birth of Mapako Carnival, which is meant to promote the iconic Chinhoyi Caves, and its beautiful scenery, makes good reading.
Running from October 26-28 in the Mashonaland West capital, the event has the potential to boost tourist arrivals in Chinhoyi.
Buoyed by its jaw-dropping pool, known as Chirorodziva, and the beautiful ambience, the place is very special.
Its cultural and historical significance is well documented.
Run and managed by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management, the Sleeping Pool – as it is culturally known – remains underrated, yet it qualifies to be one of the best tourist attractions in this country.
The authorities managing it can still do more and turn it one of the must-visit tourist attractions in Zimbabwe.
With aggressive marketing of the place, it can boost domestic, and even international, tourism.
However, the sad reality is that locals don’t value what they have.
Now that a new festival, dubbed “Mapako Carnival,” will be held there next month, we need to embrace such initiatives.
Carnivals are very important in marketing our country and it has shown to be the case in countries like Brazil, Germany, Trinidad & Tobago, Italy and Nigeria, just to name but a few.
Locally, we have the Victoria Falls Carnival, which is known for attracting international tourists.
Held annually, it continues to attract multi-racial crowds and world renowned artists.
In the capital, we used to have the Harare International Carnival (HIC), which has been put on hold due to financial constraints.
The HIC was popular with locals, especially the street procession, which united Zimbabweans.
Dubbed the “festival of happiness”, it’s sad that little has been done by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to revive it.
All these efforts were critical in promoting #Brand Zimbabwe.
Now that we have a new baby coming to Chinhoyi, we need to embrace such initiatives.
What is going to raise the appeal of the three-day fete is the involvement of locals.
The participation of the Chinhoyi University of Technology’s School of Tourism, Art and Design, in partnership with ZTA and the Zimparks, shows that this is a very serious initiative.
Their vision needs a lot of support from various stakeholders who can come on board and promote the initiative.
With proper planning, Mapako Carnival has the potential to become one of the biggest carnivals in Zimbabwe.
Being the place, linking Kariba and the Chirundu Border Post, the Chinhoyi Caves has the potential to attract tourism for those on road trips.
It has the potential to become the stopover of choice.
Strategically located, along the Harare-Chirundu highway, there is nothing stopping Chinhoyi Caves from being a hit with tourists.
With the birth of Mapako, we can only wish the event organisers a successful cultural fete.
The success can only come with the support of locals.
We urge the organisers to ensure that everything is in order because there will be many watching to see if it will be a success story.