Tourism and Hospitality Minister Engineer Walter Mzembi has castigated western countries for making it difficult for tourists to visit Africa.
In his welcome remarks at the Africa Travel Association (ATA) US-Africa Sixth Annual Tourism Seminar in Washington DC in the United States of America, Eng Mzembi said the sector generates US$1,3 trillion in direct earnings globally.
The sector, he said, employs 240 million people in the world, accounting for one in every 12 employees.
Against this background, the developed world has responded with a battery of protective measures, some of them in punitive airport departure taxes as in the case of the United Kingdom, said Eng Mzembi.
These, he said, discourage long haul travel and retains much of the tourism spent domestically while punishing those who dare go out.
"For example, some countries would physically restrain their citizens from visiting their perceived hostile or enemy states, literally arresting them for visiting such.
"Cuba is a good example of a country that suffered under such attacks.
"In the case of Zimbabwe, punitive fiscal and statutory measures like Zidera (Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act), a combination of state-sponsored negative travel advisories and false media attacks have been used by the United States of America and the United Kingdom," said Eng Mzembi, who is the current president of ATA.
He said the net effect had been potential tourists staying at home with limited international travel.
"At the same time these nation states have broken barriers to travel into their own countries significantly through a more open border system, Europe and its Schengen visa being a classic example, the American Green Card system being the other," he added.
Eng Mzembi urged African nations to stand together in these circumstances.
"We continue to experience travel restrictions imposed on us by the Berlin Conference, which discourage intra-Africa travel."
He said intra-Africa travel accounts for over 80 percent of arrivals mainly in cross border and small to medium scale business.
Eng Mzembi said the Sadc univisa has eluded member-states for long, but it's intention is not just limited to the region but extends to international travel, which is groaning under multiple visa fees.
He urged Africans to tell the continent's story to counter the recycled conflict and odd and isolated security violations sold in the western mainstream media.
"But this task begins at home with a conversation with our seemingly unregulated media which writes for overseas consumption with impunity and reckless abandon.
"Journalists have a responsibility to factually inform, not to sensationalise," said Eng Mzembi.