Nyami Nyami Festival brought Kariba to a standstill on Saturday as people from all walks of life converged at the Lake Harvest Harbour for an event expected to anchor efforts to revive tourism in the resort town.
The festival which was once hosted by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) had been put on hold because of a poor financial resource base as sponsorship seeking efforts increasingly futile. However, after realising the need to revive tourist activity in Kariba through MICE tourism, the ZTA and media conglomerate Zimpapers through Nyaminyami FM partnered to bring bring the much celebrated festival.
Speaking on the just ended Nyaminyami Festival, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Acting Chief Executive, Mr. Givemore Chidzidzi said, “Festivals such as the NyamiNyami Festival present an opportunity to forget all our worries and celebrate the positive side of life, even if it is for a few days. They play an important role in nation-building; bringing people from every religious, economic and social background together. They divert peoples’ attention from their demanding lives and amuse them in their leisure time.”
Economic benefits may also accrue through, for example, improved economic stability in the area and improved infrastructure and amenities, which are important for developing destinations.
“The thrust of festivals is to generate or grow the local economy through attracting inward investment, new businesses or expenditure and increased tourist arrivals. For instance, we expect revellers to come from outside Kariba and the neighbouring Zambia thus, everyone in the tourism value chain stands to benefit,” he added.
World over, festivals attract an interest worth noting in both the developed and 3rd world countries. Festival tourism boost the local economy and has the potential to bring in the seasonal, geographic and demographic spread of tourism. Examples of festivals around the World that have aided development are; the Rio Carnival in Brazil, Vodacom Durban July and not forgetting our very own Victoria Falls Carnival which has gained popularity.
The Nyaminyami Festival can usher in new economic development opportunities for Kariba as a tourism destination as the local stakeholders seek to revive the tourism giant. This comes in after stakeholder consultation meeting in Kariba early this year and holding the Festival was part of the agreed strategies.