Hollywood's Will Smith visits Vic Falls - BUT WHICH SIDE?

By Drum Digital
10 March 2017

Hollywood star Will Smith has just been to Victoria Falls - but did he stay on the Zimbabwe side or the Zambian side of the natural wonder?

Harare -

A row over whether the popular US actor actually overnighted in Zimbabwe on Thursday is showing just how touchy locals are on the subject of shared tourist hot-spot, which lies to the extreme west of Zimbabwe.

The Chronicle newspaper said Smith had "sneaked unnoticed" into Zimbabwe. "But the word on the street is that the Men in Black star is sleeping in Zambia," the paper admitted. The state ZBC broadcaster claimed the star had done a bungee-jump from Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe but was booked into an exclusive hotel across the border in Livingstone, Zambia.

There's little doubt that once-sleepy Livingstone town has profited from Zimbabwe's economic and political woes post-2000. Foreigners now often arrive in Zambia, cross to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe where they spend a few hours and then cross back to Zambia for accommodation.

Police roadblocks

As it struggles a worsening cash crunch, President Robert Mugabe's government would love to have the hard currency that tourists bring when they stay. Last month Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said tourism was a "low-hanging fruit" and urged more investment in the sector. Insiders say police roadblocks put off travellers who might have considered road-trips in Zimbabwe. The relatively high prices of some tourism facilities in Zimbabwe can also prove a deterrent, as happened when the South African rand fell in value last year. Tourism arrivals in Vic Falls were reported to be five percent down in the first quarter of 2016 for precisely that reason. Some Zambians have responded to Zimbabweans' urgent questions over Will Smith's whereabouts with perhaps a touch of triumph..

 

Smith is reported to have already visited Egypt, Morocco and Tanzania on this tour with his family.

Source: News24

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