KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka
WE N D Y Manyanga, representing the Southern Province, was las t Friday crowned as the new Miss Tourism Zambia and in the process earned herself the right to represent the country at the Miss International 2017 to be held in Tokyo, Japan.
At the same pageant, held at the Golden Peacock Hotel in Lusakaâ€™s Roma township, Maimbolwa Ingâ€™ombe, who was representing the Western province, was selected as the First Runner-Up while Febby Mwandama from Luapula Province was named as the Second Runner-Up.
Nkumbu Namusamba of Muchinga province was the Third Runner-Up while Rose Fieldings, who was representing the North-Western province, was picked as the Fourth Runner-Up.
The top three winners â€“ Wendy, Maimbolwa and Febby â€“ were awarded three fully-funded scholarships to study any degree or Masterâ€™s degree course of their choice starting in January 2017 at Livingstone International University of Tourism and Business Excellence.
The scholarships are for the entire duration or years of the course.
Professor Patrick Kalifungwa, the former Minister of Tourism and Arts and now Vice Chancellor of the Livingstone International University of Tourism Excellence and Business Management, who was the guest of honour at the pageant, received a Tourism Achievement Award from Wide Edge Enterprises in recognition of the contribution that he has made in the area of sustainable tourism development in the field of Education.
He is credited for being instrumental in setting up the Tourism Development Fund when he was the Minister at the Ministry of Tourism and Arts.
Even as the pageant was going on, an argument regarding the legitimacy of the Miss Tourism was still going on in certain circles.
In fact, the Ministry of Tourism and Arts were surprised that there was another Miss Tourism Zambia taking place in Lusaka when a few months ago, it had endorsed another pageant by the same name in Livingstone.
The organisers of last weekâ€™s pageant sought to put matters straight.
â€œWe, the legal owners of the Miss Tourism Zambia brand are proud to announce that preparations are underway to host the Miss Tourism Zambia 2016 national final. We started organising the event in 2004 and have 12 years of well-documented evidence,â€ the organiser Caroline Makasa said in a statement prior to the final.
â€œThe inaugural pageant was attended by Hon Patrick Kalifungwa, former Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources and officiated by the former the First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa.
â€œFurther, the Miss Tourism Zambia business name is registered at the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) which is a semi-autonomous executive agency of the Zambian Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. Its principal functions are to operate a legal system for registration and protection of commercial and industrial property and to serve as a legal depository of the information tendered for registration.â€
For this particular pageant, the organisers said in line with the United Nations World Tourism Day theme for 2016: â€œAccessible Tourismâ€, they gave an opportunity to thousands of young ladies from around the country to audition online.
â€œWe started our auditions from November 2014 to September 2016 and our semi-finalists had to go through a thorough screening process before narrowing down to the select finalists for each province whom we believe meet international modelling standards and have potential to win an international pageant.
â€œIn Muchinga Province we had a regional pageant. Indeed we have had many previous titleholders who have won international titles in different parts of the world. Brandina Lubuli reigning Miss International Zambia was First Runner-Up at the Face of Beauty International 2016 which was held in Mongolia.â€
KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka