By Ntokozo Mfusi

A British tourist has urged the South African government to address crime in the country urgently to protect its reputation as a tourism destination after he and his wife were robbed of all their luggage in Umhlanga last week.

Andrew Blair and his wife, Jocelyn, from London, were left literally with the clothing on their backs when they were robbed shortly after their arrival at Umhlanga last Thursday.

Blair said they had not made reservations and on their arrival at about 8pm had gone to the Protea Hotel and parked their car in front of the hotel.

A car guard, who was not wearing a uniform, promised to look after their car while they looked for accommodation.

The Protea Hotel was fully booked and they next called at the nearby Oyster Box Hotel.

As they approached the car park, after booking a room, they realised their car boot was open and all their belongings had been stolen.

"We have lost three big cases full of clothing, jewellery, cellphones - things we will never be able to replace.

"When I asked the car guard if he had seen anything, he pleaded innocent and said he had seen nothing.

"Incidents like these will harm tourism in KZN because people abroad are very sensitive about their safety," said Blair.

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Phindile Makwakwa said it was unfortunate when tourists became victims of crime.

But she said she was confident in the police and the measures in place to curb crime.

Blair said that he loved South Africa and that he and his wife had been visiting the country for 15 years.

The Blairs have cut their two-week stay in KwaZulu-Natal short and are planning to leave for London on Thursday.