REIGNING Miss Tourism Zimbabwe, Ashley Morgan (pictured) was among the top 10 finalists at the grand finale of the Miss Tourism International 2016/17 pageant held on New Year’s Eve in Malaysia.

The Miss Tourism International 2016/17 crown went to New Zealand’s queen Ariel Pearse, while Miss Indonesia, Dikna Faradiba was crowned Miss South East Asia, Miss Mexico, Ximena Delgado Mendez was declared the Dream Girl of the Year, Miss Australia, Tasha Ross was crowned Miss Tourism Global and Miss Brazil, Thaina Magalhaes was named Miss Tourism Cosmopolitan.

Miss Tourism Zimbabwe Trust spokesperson, Alson Darikayi said they were happy with Morgan’s performance, as their hard work had paid off at the first time of asking.

“Our queen (Morgan) performed very well at the Miss Tourism International in Malaysia on New Year’s Eve, making it into the top 10,” he said.

“We are proud of her representation of the country at such a global platform and reaching that stage with the level of competition there, it is something good for brand Zimbabwe.

“If we had given her enough time to prepare, she could have performed even better, but all the same, being among the top 10 finalists out of 60 countries is a great achievement. The way she performed in the question-and-answer segment and the talent competition shows she is naturally intelligent, confident and extremely talented.”

Morgan, who was expected in the country yesterday, took to social media to express her joy, sharing a picture where she congratulated the top five.

“Congrats to the five winners @misstourisminternational,” she posted on Instagram.

“And congratulations to all the finalists; it takes courage, confidence; a lot of strength and patience to go through the whole process. Made Top 10 and that can only be God’s favour. Thank you for the support and love.”

Other local models, like Miss Tourism Zimbabwe first princess, Candice Dube congratulated Morgan.

BY NICOLA GIBSON