April 28, 2006 07:50 AM

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s current residence in Namibia is being seen as a boon to the local tourist economy – not just for what couple are spending at a luxury resort there, but for the visitors they are likely to attract to the remote African nation.

As Jolie herself revealed on Thursday’s Today show, she’s not ruling out having the couple’s baby in the country. “We just don’t know where it’s going to happen or where it’s going to be,” Jolie told interviewer Ann Curry, who asked if this week’s PEOPLE cover girl had a doctor nearby. “We’ve been smart about it,” replied Jolie. “Things will be as they will be. I’m ready for anything.”

Namibian officials are viewing Jolie’s statements as really good news, reports Reuters.

“If Angelina Jolie gives birth in Namibia, she would have done for our tourism sector what our tourism board budget cannot do in a year,” Namibian Ambassador to the United States Hopelong Iipinge said in a statement Thursday.

Iipinge said that the Namibian embassy in Washington has been “inundated with calls from the media and individuals inquiring about Namibia,” including requests from major media outlets for video footage of the country’s chief attractions, which include lush sand dunes.

“It would be an honor for Namibia to become the birthplace of the Pitts’ first biological child,” Iipinge said, saying privacy was one thing the remote African country could offer the Hollywood pair.

“Never before have we had so much publicity. Angelina Jolie is not only a movie star, she is also the U.N. goodwill gmbassador and this is the combination which makes her the draw card,” he said.

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