By Raymond Jaravaza
Miss Tourism Zimbabwe hopefuls will have to keep their CVs on standby as organisers of the rebranded pageant only want those with diplomas or degrees.
This was among the cocktail of changes introduced to restore public and corporate confidence back to the pageant by its patron — Barbara Mzembi.
The contest which was previously hosted by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority was known as Carnival Queen Zimbabwe.
As she addressed guests at the rebranding launch in Harare on Tuesday, Mzembi, wife to Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said:
“Miss Tourism Zimbabwe is not just about the slim and beautiful girls as we’ve changed the criteria to include a diploma or degree as a requirement.
“We’re not just looking for contestants that are tall and slim, but the Miss Tourism Zimbabwe winner must be eloquent, articulate and be able to market her country well.”
The patron said contestants’ knowledge of the country’s tourism destinations was an added advantage as the winner will be a tourism ambassador.
“The winner will be expected to market the country especially our tourism industry. We also need someone that can be trusted by the tourism industry players to sell the image of Zimbabwean tourism,” Mzembi said.
The patron, who had always been passionate about modelling said she wanted to clean the image of the industry which had been tainted by some models.
“When I took over as patron of the pageant (Miss Carnival Zimbabwe last year), I sat down with people that had been running pageants before. We agreed that the starting point was to bring back public confidence in pageants because in the past, people complained that funds were not being managed properly. Among things which need to be worked on are cases of nude pictures as well as sponsors that have lost confidence,” Mzembi said.
She said they have since come up with a model that will help clean the modelling industry’s image.
“The first thing we need to do is gain the trust of the public as well as the model’s parents so that they allow their children to take part in Miss Tourism Zimbabwe. We also need to make the pageant sustainable and appealing to sponsors.”
She said a five-member committee which has been formed specifically for the Miss Tourism Zimbabwe pageant was yet to meet to deliberate on when the pageant would be held.
“We’re still to meet to draw up a budget and come up with a panel of judges as well as identify community-based projects that will be run by the pageant.”
Organisers have also roped in auditing and accounting firm, Deloitte, to administer funds of the beauty pageant. The auditing firm will also oversee funds meant for community-based projects targeting the girl child.
“We’ve invited Deloitte to be the custodians of the Miss Tourism Zimbabwe fund. They’ll not only audit the funds, but receive money from sponsors, make payments to service providers and also administer funds that are meant for projects that we’ll be running to help the girl child in different communities.
She assured the public that she would not be corrupt like other pageant organisers.
“We want the public and sponsors to know that everything at Miss Tourism Zimbabwe will be done above board because myself as the patron of the pageant, I’ll never touch that money.”
Despite the hard economic conditions that the country is facing and subsequent reluctance by companies to bankroll beauty pageants, Mzembi is optimistic the rebranded Miss Tourism Zimbabwe will sell itself not only to the corporate world, but to Zimbabweans in general. Sunday News