"To a large extent, under-performance in the tourism field stems from negative reporting of the continent in the global media," Xasa said in Pretoria.
She said there was a lack of awareness about the potential the African continent has in tourism.
In most cases, natural and man-made disasters were being reported, while positive developments were ignored.
"Both ignorance and negative images create considerable scepticism in tourists... even among Africans who would like to visit parts of their continent."
She was briefing reporters about an the Meetings Africa 2013 conference taking place in Sandton from 18 to 21 February.
Xasa said tourism in Africa was mostly associated with eco-tourism in wildlife and natural reserves.
"While some of these are unique to Africa and attract a great number of visitors, there is a need to also promote the other aspects especially those highlighting the wealth of the continent in the history of human civilisation," she said.
"We therefore need to work closely with the media as partners and educate the world about this tourism destination called Africa."