2011 arrivals break 2008 record

By Gay Nagle Myers
InsightThe Mexican Ministry of Tourism reported that 2011 was a record-breaking year for tourism.

International visitor numbers totaled 22.67 million, an increase of 2% over 2010, 5.7% over 2009, and 0.2% over 2008, which had been Mexico’s best year until last year.

Although U.S. numbers fell by 3% last year over 2010, “it is important to note that the economic crisis in the U.S. meant that fewer Americans traveled abroad,” the ministry said.

Secretary of Tourism Gloria Guevara referenced the recession in the U.S. as well as the collapse of Mexicana Airlines in August 2010 as “factors that influenced the behavior of 2011.”

The Mexico government had declared 2011 the Year of Tourism in an effort to bolster inbound and domestic travel and counter the effects of the drug-related violence that has plagued the country since 2006 and generated substantial coverage.

A key focus for the Mexico Tourism Board in 2012 is to capitalize on and celebrate the start of the new Mayan calendar in December, promoting travel to the five states which comprise the Mayan World: Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, Chiapas and Yucatan.

The biggest visitor increases in 2011 compared with 2010 came from Brazil, Russia, Peru, China, Italy, France, Japan and Canada.

Foreign tourists last year also spent more money, an average of $158 per person per day, which was a 7% increase over 2010.
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