VETERAN Springbok players Tendai Mtawarira popularly known as “the beast” in rugby circles has been appointed as tourism brand ambassador for Zimbabwe in South Africa.
Zimbabwe is currently using certain designated individuals who enjoy a huge following to help market the country as a safe tourism destination.
The concept of tourism brand ambassadors is widely used as a tool for promoting many destinations across the globe. People are appointed tourism ambassadors for their ability to significantly contribute to the promotion of destinations with the main objective of increasing tourism traffic.
The Person chosen must have excelled in a particular discipline, be it sport, music, art, business, beauty pageants or charity work thereby giving them influence on the international arena.
The individual must also be of high integrity, must be apolitical and also able to defend the interests of Destination Zimbabwe.
Mtawarira is the veteran Sharks front rower, is famous for being the first black Springbok to play 100 Tests and even eclipsed Adriaan Strauss as South Africa’s most capped Super Rugby player.
Addressing the media at the conferment ceremony, Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira said the Mtawarira is a deserving candidate owing to his various exemplary activities that include charity works.
“Given all his fame on the global rugby arena, he has remained grounded. His humility is worth admiring and his involvement with two major charities here in Zimbabwe, both committed to helping children in school and sport has earned himself the status of philanthropist.
“His love for Zimbabwe shines through his dedication and hard work, and above all leading by example on whatever he does in his life
“Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby confer Mr Tendai Mtawarira, The Beast, as Tourism Ambassador for destination Zimbabwe and wish him all the best in his new endeavours,” she said.
In his acceptance speech, Mtawarira said he was humbled by the gesture and that he will do his best to market the country’s tourism destination and promised to avail himself whenever he is needed.
“Thank you so much for this amazing honour to make me a tourism ambassador for Zimbabwe, ever since I moved across the border (South Africa) I have never forgotten where I come from, you know I represent South Africa on the big stage internationally but one thing I have never forgotten is my roots and I can tell you that everybody I come in contact with I make sure they know where my roots are from.
“And I think to be a tourism ambassador for me is going to come so easily because I always like to market Zimbabwe to all the people I come across all over the world and because I love coming home I love spending time when I am not playing the game I love coming home spend time in Victoria Falls in Kariba and I always tell my friends and teammates to bring their families here and get to see the riches that this country has,” he said.
Mtawarira added that time has come that men and women who have left Zimbabwe come back to help in rebuilding the country.
On his part, Mtawarira said “I am excited to be part and parcel of the tourism team and I am going to make sure I avail myself for any functions or whatever they need me to be part of or even posting on social media I will make sure I get involved.
“On my side I am prepared to give you 100 percent,” he said.