Mexico City: Top 'South of the Border' travel destination in '99

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico City attracted 8.9 million foreign visitors in 1999, a 12.7% increase compared to 1998, the city's tourism authority reported.

Combined with the estimated 6 million Mexicans who traveled to the city to visit friends and family, the city was host to approximately 15 million total visitors, making Mexico City the country's most popular travel destination, the tourism authority said.

According to the authority, most international visitors came from the U.S. and Canada, representing 52.38% of foreign arrivals.

The Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City.European visitors, most notably from France, Germany, Spain and the U.K, accounted for about 26% of visitors.

"Behind these positive numbers is the fact that Mexico City is living a great process of renovation and renewal," said Arroyo Legaspi, the authority's president.

He cited a drop in crime and an improvement in the city's air quality among the reasons for the renewed interest in the capital city.

Legaspi said that new investment in hotel facilities and attractions were a "sign of confidence and commitment to Mexico City as a tourist destination."

He pointed to the following hotel developments:

  • Sheraton Hotels is investing $54 million in the construction of a hotel and convention center in the Alameda Park area.
  • Inter-Continental Hotels is investing $40 million in the construction of an all-suite tower adjacent to the Presidente Intercontinental Hotel in the Polanco district.
  • Marriott's new Mexico City Renaissance Hotel, with a view of Chapultepec Park and Chapultepec Castle, is scheduled to open by the end of the year.
  • The Melia Reforma Hotel is in the midst of a $5 million renovation that will add a spa.
  • In addition, Mexico City is planning a $300 million renovation of the colonial monuments, buildings and plazas in the city's historic center.

    Also, the National Museum of Anthropology is undergoing a $13 million renovation.

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