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'Travel warnings to SA nothing new'

China, Australia, Hong Kong and the UK have issued travel alerts for travellers coming to South Africa.

China, Australia, Hong Kong and the UK have issued travel alerts for travellers coming to South Africa. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said the current travel alerts on South Africa are not new and they have only been updated based on recent events.

The spate of ongoing attacks on foreign nationals that have claimed at least seven lives in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have been cited as the main reason for the new alerts.

China, Hong Kong, Australia and the UK have issued alerts on travel to the country warning their citizens to be vigilant and to avoid hotspots and large gatherings.

While the department said this was normal procedure, questions have been raised about South Africa's image globally.

The department said news that certain countries have updated their travel advisories on South Africa has not come as a shock.

The British High Commission's Isabelle Potkieters said, "We've added a paragraph advice to our for people visiting South Africa, to say that there have reports of localised disturbances and violence in Johannesburg, Durban and other parts of KwaZulu-Natal

Dirco's Nelson Kgwete said it's normal procedure to update advisories as new incidents occur.

"They discourage their citizens from visiting certain affected areas, they don't discourage their citizens against visiting the country as a whole."

While calm seems to have been restored to hotspots following the army's deployment, there are fears that the recent violence may have shaken the tourism industry.