MISS Tourism Zimbabwe (MTZ) national finalists trooped into boot camp Saturday ahead of the pageant’s glitzy finals slated for Montclair Hotel and Casino in Nyanga on December 14.
The glamorous event is expected to attract the usually urbane beauty and fashion model clientele out of the city for an excursion in the Eastern Highlands ahead of the Christmas festivities.
Nyanga is home to the country’s highest mountain – Mt Inyangani and is pregnant with underexplored natural and wildlife attractions including one of Africa’s tallest waterfalls – Mtarazi Falls.
The region is home to such scenic sites such as the Chimanimani Mountains, Matendera monuments, Vumba mountains and botanical gardens, Cecil kopje, Honde valley’s Mabwemasimike, Bridal Veil Falls among many others.
It has a high plant endemism and also has many near-endemic wildlife species and hold high potential for many new species as it is generally understudied.
MTZ national license holder Sarah Mpofu-Sibanda said the event had been trivialised over the years by limiting its hosting to just Harare where it was patronised by just a few well-oiled people.
She managed to move it out of the capital city for the first time last year when it was held in Bulawayo.
“It had been brought down to be something very little – for the high and might because the people who were attending were only those who could pay the ginormous amounts of money,” Mpofu-Sibanda said.
She said everyone who appreciates beauty should be able to attend the pageant.
“We want everyone to be able to attend. I’m sure my ladies (the pageants) can’t wait to showcase what they have,” she said.
MTZ was launched in 2005 by Zimbabwe Tourism Authority as an addition to its diverse marketing platforms to lure visitors into the country.
It however goes beyond just physical beauty to intelligence without which the organisers believe the pageants would not be able to market local tourist attractions globally.
It therefore has no obsession at height and weight like most beauty contests.
The annual beauty pageant that selects a winner who represents Zimbabwe’s culture and diversity internationally and at the Miss World pageant.
Mpofu-Sibanda said the decision to host the event in Manicaland was in part informed by the fact that last year’s winner came from the province.