state blamed over attacks

The government has not done enough to curb xenophobia, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal chairman Seshi Chonco said yesterday.

The government has not done enough to curb xenophobia, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal chairman Seshi Chonco said yesterday.

Speaking at Durban's Suncoast Casino on the effect of xenophobia on tourism in South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal, Chonco said his opinion that government had not been doing enough was based on his experiences and his discussions with communities.

He said promises made by some people in the presidency had not been met and that communities were angry.

"People have invested in political leadership and are trying to change their lives. I don't believe that government has done enough."

He said when vulnerable people were ravaged by poverty and disappointment, they took their frustrations out on fellow Africans due to competition for employment.

"We must get our house in order and create more jobs and opportunities."

Chonco said it was good that South Africa had an open immigration policy but said it was not enoug, the government needed to rethink "our social economic order".

Chonco said the xenophobic attacks were worrying to the tourism industry because they could affect South Africa negatively in the long term.

"These xenophobic attacks are a major setback to tourism because African tourism is critical to our country." Africa was South Africa's most important source of foreign visitors and foreign visitor expenditure.

Africans were among the top five foreign visitor spenders in South Africa, with Mozambicans topping the expenditure list in 2006.

In that year, 67 percent of international visitors were from within the continent - 114380 were from Botswana, 248828 were from Lesotho, 64212 were from Mozambique, 327168 were from Swaziland and 127474 were from Zimbabwe.

Chonco said safety, security and hospitality were key elements that brought tourists to SA. - Sapa

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