Cape Argus, 29 April 2008

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Tourists from other African countries avoid visiting the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal because of the racism and xenophobia they are subjected to in these provinces, South African Tourism's global product manager has said. That was the visitors' perception of black and white South Africans, Hanneli Slabber said at a Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa lunch in Durban recently. The Western Cape was considered "much worse" than KwaZulu-Natal, Slabber said and called for action to remedy the situation. "We need to look at the front-line service staff. We need to get over this whole xenophobia thing. We need to be friendly and welcoming and to understand the value of African tourists," she said. There were many tourism "product" owners who wanted the African market figures taken out of the tourism statistics. "There's a perception that there is no value in the African market. But that's totally wrong. There is huge value and there is also huge opportunities for growth," she said, pointing out that 40 000 Nigerian visitors arrived last year, each spending more than R10 000. The 2010 World Cup would also result in an influx of visitors from the rest of Africa, said Slabber, adding that the event was not only South Africa's World Cup "it is Africa's World Cup".