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Tourism SA slams travel warnings

Earlier this week countries submitted travel warnings on SA amidst the xenophobic violence.

FILE: The CEO of Tourism South Africa Thulani Nzima on Friday said the recently issued travel warnings on the country, amidst the xenophobic attacks in Kwazulu-Natal and Johannesburg, have had a dire effect the industry. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The CEO of Tourism South Africa Thulani Nzima on Friday said the recently issued travel warnings on the country, amidst the xenophobic attacks in Kwazulu-Natal and Johannesburg, have had a dire effect the industry.

Among the countries submitting travel warnings were Australia's High Commission, and the United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Earlier this week, Hong Kong's Special Administrative Region Government also issued a tourism advisory which warned residents, who intend to visit South Africa, to monitor the situation and exercise caution.

Nzima said the travel warnings are exaggerated and not a true reflection of South Africa.

"We get situations like this in various countries where there are sporadic incidents of unrest but South Africa has never issued a travel warning to any country."

He says the warnings cause panic among tourists that is only amplified by the often misleading images that are shared on social media.

"There are many South Africans that are saying that this behaviour does not reflect us, it is actually a minority that is spoiling our show that is spoiling the good reputation that has helped us to market this country as a warm, welcoming and friendly country. That is serious currency to deplete."

Nzima is however certain the marches against xenophobia may redeem the reputation of the country if the rest of the world knows how ordinary citizens condemn the violence.

"Marches are a very clear demonstration that many people condemn xenophobia."

On Thursday, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, various political and community leaders headed a march in Johannesburg, standing united against xenophobia.

LISTEN: CEO of Tourism South Africa Thulani Nzima speaks to Keino Kammies