Zimbabwe’s efforts to boost domestic tourism pick up a gear with the inaugural Zimbabwe Food and Culture Festival scheduled to run in the capital from 23 – 25 May 2019 in the Harare Gardens from 0800 hours to 6 pm everyday.
Preparations for the event are at an advanced stage. The festival’s main objective is to promote and restore cultural diversity, unite locals, bridge the cultural divide and more importantly promote domestic tourism.
The fiesta is a brainchild of The First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa and is centred on celebrating our authentic and unique cultural Zimbabwean lifestyle through showcasing various traditional foods, languages, arts, music, crafts, fabric, furniture, traditional healers, cultural practices and social activities, among others.
The Festival idea is premised on the understanding and belief that people and culture are inseparable as it is culture that makes up the fabric of any society, hence society and culture are intertwined.
The event will not only focus on festivities but also focus on other serious and pressing business such as lobbying for policy change to strengthen local culture preservation and food consumption.
Fundraising for Cyclone Idai Victims will continue and finally it is envisaged that it will enhance community engagement and awareness.
A skills development and corporate social responsibility (CSR) workshop will run concurrently that will impart life skills to scores of people expected to throng the Harare Gardens and whose target audience range from the youth, general public, cultural custodians to scholars, diplomatic corps, international and business community.
In the face of modernisation and globalisation Zimbabwe Food and Culture Festival is an add on to existing government efforts which seek to wrestle the negative effects of cultural erosion and cultural diffusion.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Head of Corporate Affairs Godfrey Koti said while it was important for the country to grow foreign visitation numbers it was also the responsibility of the authority to educate locals on destination Zimbabwe.
“As the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority we are very delighted and elated to be having such events of this magnitude. We are looking forward to people coming out to experience the Zimbabwean culture, the Zimbabwean food and all the rich culinary activity the country has to offer,” he said.
“We want to grow the numbers of people who visit the country but most importantly we have to educate the local community about destination Zimbabwe.
“It’s a 360 approach, we look at the food, the culture, the people, we look at the facilities, we look at the heritage. Locals must be able to know them so that they experience them and enjoy them which will ultimately drive up numbers.”