Mexico: Fewer tourists generated more money

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MEXICO CITY -- Tourism generated a record $9.457 billion in Mexico last year, a 6.8% increase compared with 2002, despite the fact that fewer tourists visited the country in 2003 compared with the year before, according to Mexico's Ministry of Tourism.

The number of visitors fell from 19.7 million in 2002 to 18.6 million in 2003, but tourists spent more on average last year than in 2002, up 13.8% to $100.50 per person, per day.

"These figures reflect the recovery of the world economy but also Mexico's ability to provide diverse options for high-end travelers," said Rodolfo Elizondo, Mexico's secretary of tourism.

One bright spot was cruises: some 5.98 million passengers disembarked on Mexican shores from January to November in 2003, up from 4.54 million during the same period in 2002.

To contact reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].

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