People protesting against xenophobia in South Africa hold placards in front of the South African consulate in Lagos in this April 16, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye/Files
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South Africa's tourism industry is likely to take a hit following a wave of xenophobic attacks this month, a setback for the country which has worked hard to clean up its image as a hub for violent crime.Seven people have been killed in the attacks, which mostly targeted African immigrants. The successful hosting of the 2010 World Cup helped improve South Africa's reputation for violence but graphic images of armed gangs attacking immigrants and looting foreign-owned shops have revived fears that may put off potential visitors.The tourism industry has grown steadily since the 2010 World Cup, directly and indirectly generating $39 billion, or 9.7 percent of South Africa's GDP in 2013, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.Africans account for more than 60 percent of visitors, with nearly 700,000 coming on holiday in December last year, Statistics South Africa data shows.
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