Aston Villa captain McGinn in Victoria Falls John McGinn and fiance Sara Stokes going through immigration processes in Victoria Falls, yesterday

Leonard Ncube and Caroline Mutsawu, Chronicle Writers

DESTINATION Victoria Falls continues to attract international celebrities with English Premier League football star and Aston Villa captain John McGinn landing in the tourism city yesterday for a two-day holiday where he is set to meet with teammate Marvelous Nakamba.

McGinn, who is also Scotland’s national team captain, landed at the Victoria Falls International Airport yesterday after 4pm in the company of his girlfriend, Sara Stokes.

The couple was welcomed by exuberant locals who included staff from different Government departments. They took turns to pose for pictures with the Scottish football star.

The visit is at the invitation of Nakamba who added a feather to his shining performance on the pitch in the English Premier League by becoming Zimbabwe’s tourism ambassador as he took it upon himself to market the country as a destination of choice.

Marvelous Nakamba

Nakamba is one of the most followed Zimbabwean players in modern day sport, and is inspiring many through his discipline, hard work and philanthropic work that has almost 2 000 kids benefitting from his benevolence.

Nakamba and McGinn are very close to each other. The Scot had been impressed with his teammate’s narration of Zimbabwe as a safe holiday destination with so much for a visiting tourist.

To confirm their closeness, McGinn said he wished Nakamba would stay at Aston Villa.

Massive marketing of the destination by Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and various players in the tourism sector has seen Victoria Falls turning out to be a prime tourism destination of choice for many, including individual celebrities, and Heads of State among others.

It is the majestic Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, wildlife, pristine environment and hospitality of the locals that continue to wow tourists.

McGinn’s visit rubberstamps efforts by the Second Republic to promote sports tourism as a draw card to attract more visitors into the country and contribute to Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product in terms of tourist arrivals and bookings.

Speaking at the airport, McGinn said he will know his itinerary today.

He said he felt excited being in Victoria Falls and looked forward to visiting the Rainforest and interact with wild animals.

“Marvelous Nakamba told me every day that I should come to Zimbabwe because it’s a beautiful country and then I told him I was going on a safari they recommended South Africa and Zimbabwe so I am looking forward to Victoria Falls,” said McGinn.

“I had an experience with the animals, I am not used to seeing lions and elephants. It was an amazing experience in South Africa and now I am not scared anymore and hoping to see some more animals in Zimbabwe as Marvelous told me.”

McGinn said he will be in Victoria Falls for two days during which he will sample some tour activities.

“The hospitality has been amazing. Marvelous told me about how much Zimbabwean people love the EPL so I never really believed, but it’s nice to be here. This is a nice place and I am sure in the next couple of years I will come back to see one of the Natural Wonders,” he said.

McGinn said he will also market Victoria Falls back home.

He said his fiancé Sara was much more adventurous than him.

“Marvelous is amazing, he is the most humble guy. He is such a good teammate. I hope he is still staying with us at Villa,” said McGinn.

Nakamba is in the country for the season break.

Several international celebrities and sporting icons have visited the Victoria Falls.

In 2017, football stars Rayco Garcia, Edgar Davids and Patrick Kluivert were in the country and visited Victoria Falls as special guests of the Sport and Recreation Commission.

The visit was part of a holiday programme that saw Barcelona legends playing the Zimbabwe Warriors legends in Harare.

The list of high profile international celebrities that have visited Victoria Falls in recent years include Trai Byers and wife Grace Gealey-Byers of America, Hollywood stars Michael Douglas, wife Catherine

Zeta-Jones and children Dylan and Carys, Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin with his wife Barbara and children, Maps Maponyane, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko and the Honorary Commander of the British Navy Mrs Durdan Ansari. — @ncubeleon

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