Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Tourist operator demands escort services in Livingstone


Will Smith in Zambia
Will Smith in Zambia

A Kazungula based tour operator says lack of an escort service for VIP guests is hindering efforts to enhance the profile of Livingstone and surrounding areas as the preferred tourism destination in the region.

Tongabezi Limited General Manager Rudy Boribon says Livingstone as the tourist capital is losing out on opportunities to enhance its profile internationally, as it lacked an escort service to handle high profile people from all over the world.

Mr. Boribon said that setting up a VIP escort service would cut down on the number of bookings made by celebrities and high profile people through South Africa.

Speaking in an interview with Journalists in Kazungula, yesterday, Mr. Boribon noted with concern that South Africa handled numerous bookings involving high profile tourists intending to visit tourist attractions in Zambia.

“We recently had Hollywood actor Will Smith in the country as he wanted to view the Victoria Falls from the Devil’s Pool. This is an activity we do as Tongabezi but the booking was done in South Africa since they are able to provide a lot of services under one roof in the auspices of an escort service,” he said.

He urged stakeholders in the tourism industry to view a VIP escort service as an investment opportunity that could provide service cars, security and booking of tourism activities to VIPs in one place to ensure privacy, enhance efficiency and make the country a popular tourism destination.

Meanwhile, the tour operator called for continuous investment in infrastructure in the tourism industry.

Mr. Boribon said Livingstone could only compete favourably with neighboring countries if players in the industry constantly invested in their businesses to retain existing customers and attract new ones

He noted that most international tourists had travelled widely and most likely already visited South Africa, neighboring Namibia and Botswana and were bound to compare the infrastructure in those countries to what Zambia had to offer.

“People come to see wildlife, tourist attractions like the Victoria Falls but they also expect good if not better accommodation facilities, skilled staff and a pleasant environment,” he said.

Mr. Boribon said failure to give customers what they need was detrimental to the growth of the tourism industry.

He said his company was trying to lead by example and was currently rehabilitating Tongabezi Lodge at cost of US$500, 000.

The scope of works include refurbishment of the main dining area, bar, offices, reception, activities area, kitchen and new equipment for the kitchen.


  1. Individual Tour Operators should provide VIP packages, including escorts, airport transfer, private viewings etc. Who do you want to do that for you? Recuse yourself from the business if you dont know what you are doing Rudy!

    • I quite agree with this chap! I run a self-catering apartment unit with 10 (two and three) bedroom flatlets. However, when my guests come and they want a tour of Livingstone, they are no guides to take them around Livingstone. As chappie says, most of the bookings are made via, or similar medium; locals don’t really benefit because whilst all bookings and tour are paid online; and it costs only K28 (US$2.8) to see the Victoria Falls which is situated in “Zimbabwe” (as advertised in world media). Unfortunately, as Zambians we don’t do much to advertise and sell tourism and we continue to suffer great loss of earnings. Funny thing is my bank balance is not bad!

  2. Is the escort services in the context of the story refer to pr0stitution services or tour guide? It’s a bit unclear, please someone clarify for me.

    • I am also lost in this escort thing, i hope he is not talking about the Thailand sh*t, were little girls Bangkok old white tourists.

    • Wikipedia writes: “Escort agencies are companies that provide escorts for clients, usually for sexual services”.
      Is that what the tour-operators are trying to establish for their “high profile tourists” to Zambia?

  3. Let these big shots from the US bring their own security guards. We are not here to pose and take photos where they go back and call us savages.

  4. Only he can do that as he is connected…where is a retired ZP officer in Livingstone going to connects with VIPs from Hollywood apart from Boers in SA. Anyway this is a gap in the market and i guarantee you A lists will fly in to Livingstone…ZTB should do more so these people spend more time than just day visits.

  5. If you have a Tourism minister going to Germany conferences uninvited to earn allowances when can he find time to make policy to facilitate the development of the industry? These PF guys are goons.

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