While saying it is far too soon to gauge the impact of xenophobic attacks on travel between South Africa and Namibia, market players say the picture being sketched of the neighbouring country may have consequences. Hospitality Association in Namibia (HAN) Chief Executive Officer, Gitta Paetzold, said at this stage no African and overseas tourists have been attacked. “We remain hopeful that the internal politics and tourism will remain separate, but it definitely raises a red flag for the industry, as it can impact us all.” She said xenophobia is definitely something that will have to be closely watched by the tourism industry. While South Africa’s image is being tainted by these attacks, Paetzold’s opinion is that Namibia must send out a message that welcomes all foreigners. “It is a very worrying situation and we as Namibia and the SADC countries do not want to paint a picture that foreigners are not welcome in our countries. We should stand united and welcome everyone.” Air Namibia spokesperson Paul Nakawa yesterday said that although at this stage the company has not seen a decline in travellers between Namibia and South Africa, the situation in the neighbouring country is cause for concern. Nakawa said instabilities of any kind pose a threat. He says business entities rely heavily on the support of their consumers from all walks of life, who are affected by such attacks. “If these attacks continue unabated... I am pessimistic that as roleplayers in the economy of our countries, we might be impacted and we will feel the pinch.” Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA) CEO, David Frost, told Namibian Sun they condemn the xenophobia attacks. He explained the attacks are very recent and therefore have not had any real impact on the tourism sector in that country. He added that the attacks are not favourable to the tourism sector, because a tainted picture of South Africa is being portrayed. “It is far too soon to tell what the impact will be,” Frost said. He pointed out that the recent attacks have been isolated and are occurring in specific locations where tourists normally do not visit. These attacks have been occurring in isolated areas, where people are dealing with basic survival, he said. “We utterly condemn these attacks and no country should be doing this.” Frost said xenophobia is like Ebola. “It is an impression that is being created about South Africa and we are still able to manage it.” He added that South Africa remains open for tourism business. The ongoing xenophobic attacks in South Africa have claimed the lives of five people. The violence has now spread from Durban to Johannesburg.