2000 Mexico arrivals on pace for 20M

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MEXICO CITY -- Mexico welcomed more than 6.7 million tourists to its beach destinations and colonial cities during the first four months of this year, a 9% increase compared to the same period last year, according to the Consejo de Promocion Turistica de Mexico, the country's tourism promotion council.

The tourism group said that arrivals are on track to reach the 20 million visitor mark projected for the end of this year.

According to the group, of the 6.7 million international visitors to Mexico during these four months, 1.3 million came by cruise ship, up 11% compared to the same period in 1999.

The tourists, business travelers and others visiting Mexico spent approximately $3 billion during these four months at hotels, restaurants, shops and cultural institutions, the group said. Last year, visitors spent $2.8 billion from January to April.

At this rate, tourist spending is expected to top $8 billion by the end of the year, the tourism group said.

According to the group, Mexico occupies the 11th spot worldwide and the third spot among North and South America in terms of tourist spending.

As for hotel occupancy, properties in Playa del Carmen, Nuevo Vallarta and Cancun were among the top performers in a survey of 11 destinations in Mexico.

According to the statistics, Playa del Carmen recorded approximately 83% occupancy during the first six months of the year, compared to 77% last year.

Hotels in Nuevo Vallarta posted approximately 79% occupancy for the period, down from 81% last year, while Cancun's hotels recorded 77% occupancy, the same as last year.

According to the tourism board, there are 10,500 hotels and approximately 419,000 hotel rooms in Mexico.

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