Xenophobic attacks impede business and tourism

2015-04-30 14:32
PHOTO: Jonathan Burton

UKZN students gathered in their hundreds at the Pietermaritzburg campus demonstrating against xenophobia..

PHOTO: Jonathan Burton UKZN students gathered in their hundreds at the Pietermaritzburg campus demonstrating against xenophobia..

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THE xenophobic attacks that hit Pietermaritzburg are likely to have a negative impact on business and tourism sectors.

The Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) CEO Melanie Veness said they have been liaising closely with the Msunduzi Municipality city manager’s office and Safe City team to keep abreast of what is happening on the ground.

Veness said that PCB has not had any direct complaints from local businesses however, a number of foreign-owned business owners were afraid and closed their shops out of fear. She said currently no report on boycotted local goods has been reported to her office.

“My understanding is that there was some disruption due to isolated incidents of opportunistic looting. Any attack on a foreigner as a result of his ethnicity is unconscionable and utterly deplorable. These actions erode civic pride and confidence in our country and I have no doubt that the economic impact of this criminal behaviour will be felt by all of us in some way. The tit-for-tat consequences are likely to be felt by local businesses with interests in Africa, which will negatively impact the economy,” she said.

Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association (MPTA) director Dumisani Mhlongo said the attacks on foreign nationals affect domestic and regional tourism.

“The attacks also have a negative impact on South Africans who travel to African countries as they have to think twice before beginning their travels. If these movements are restricted it impedes the tourism sector,” said Mhlongo.

Mhlongo said that MPTA is contemplating starting a social media strategy against the attacks on foreign nationals. “We are also planning a meeting with the accommodation segment and one of the issues on the agenda will be how the attacks affect accommodation and tourism and how these challenges can be overcome,” added Mhlongo.

He said the African market is key to our tourism industry, with many visitors opting to shop extensively while on holiday here

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