Four months after announcing that the UAE would host Miss World 2023, organisers of the long-running beauty competition said India will stage the pageant.
The announcement was made at a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday in the presence of Julia Morley, the chairwoman and chief executive of Miss World Organisation; Miss World 2022 Karolina Bielawska from Poland, and Miss India World 2022 Sini Shetty.
“The decision to award India with this prestigious honour recognises the nation's rich cultural heritage, its commitment to promoting diversity, and its passion for empowering women,” the Miss World Organisation said in an Instagram post.
The UAE was named as host country in February. In a since deleted social medial post, Morley said she was “delighted” to bring the pageant to the Emirates, marking its first foray into the Middle East in its seven-decade history.
The UAE has never been represented in the beauty competition.
Following Thursday's announcement, Morley, whose late husband Eric Morley founded Miss World in 1951 in the UK, added: “I am delighted to announce India as the new home of the 71st Miss World final. I have had a great affection for India from the first moment I visited this incredible country more than 30 years ago. We cannot wait to share your unique and diverse culture, world-class attractions and breathtaking locations with the rest of the world.”
More than 130 contestants are expected to compete at Miss World 2023, at a venue and on date to be announced.
India has hosted the Miss World pageant before, in 1996, in Bangalore, where Greece's Irene Skliva won the title.
The country has also produced six Miss World winners: Reita Faria in 1966, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in 1994, Diana Hayden in 1997, Yukta Mookhey in 1999, Priyanka Chopra in 2000 and Manushi Chhillar in 2017.
Miss World 2022 was held in March last year in Puerto Rico, where Bielawska was crowned, beating runners-up Miss USA Shree Saini, and Ivory Coast's Olivia Yace, who was favourite to win.
Bielawska made history by becoming only the second Polish beauty queen to win the title.
The competition had been postponed from December 2021 after a coronavirus outbreak among contestants and crew.