Zimbabwe’s tourism sector faces a media onslaught falsely suggesting places like the Victoria Falls are now dry, says UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who is on holiday in Zimbabwe.
Ceferin’s visit to Victoria Falls comes after a recent BBC documentary by Stephen Sackur in which the popular broadcaster insinuated that the falls had run dry when he said, “right now the smoky mist is not so thick and the thundering roar, well, it is not so loud”.
In a brief interview granted at Leopard Rock Hotel, where he has been staying since arrival in the eastern border city during his 10-day vacation that took him to resort areas that include Victoria Falls, Hwange and Great Zimbabwe, Ceferin said he thought Victoria Falls was now dry prior to his visit.
“We all thought that Victoria Falls is now dry,” he said. “We thought it was true, but upon arrival we saw for ourselves that it is fake news. The water is flowing and it is beautiful.”
Ceferin is among high-profile world celebrities and leaders who flocked to Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls in particular, during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday.
Hollywood celebrity couple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones recently visited Victoria Falls.
Ceferin said Zimbabwe’s friendly people were some of the greatest assets in the tourism industry.
“The friendliness of the people of Zimbabwe and the beautiful flora and fauna is awesome,” he said.
“I think that Zimbabwean tourism is underrated outside.
“Many people were asking me why are you going to Zimbabwe, it is not developed, but that is not true at all. The opposite is true. It looks great, I like it very much.
“We started in Victoria Falls then went up and finally we are down here. Every place or region is different. Every region has its own uniqueness and it is beautiful.”
Ceferin, the second most powerful man in world football, said he has always been longing to come to Zimbabwe after reading about its history.
“This is my first time here,” he said. “I have always wanted to come to Zimbabwe. I have read a lot about the history of Zimbabwe. You have a great history, interesting history.
“To be honest, for me it was more of a plus not a minus coming here because I do not like going into areas that are crowded and everybody knows you during holiday.”
The Slovenian lawyer-cum-businessman and his wife Barbara arrived in the country with a delegation of 20 people comprising mostly family members, including his three daughters Nina (26), Neza (17) and Ana (14).
Ceferin is expected to meet the country’s leadership at a dinner to be hosted for him by the Government before he leaves.–herald.co.zw