Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism reported a 5% increase in the number of air arrivals to Mexico in the first five months of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011.

Approximately 4.9 million international tourists visited Mexico between and January and May. U.S. visitors numbered 2.6 million, an increase of 1.2% over the first five months of 2011.

According to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Mexico remains the top international destination for U.S. travelers: During the first quarter of 2012, Mexico held 19% of the U.S. outbound tourism market share.

Other visitor increases were seen from Canada, Russia, the U.K., Brazil, China, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Colombia, Chile and Japan.

Hotel occupancy rates in Mexico grew 6.3% between January and May, year over year, across 70 destinations monitored in Mexico. The rates have increased consistently over the 14-month period ending in May 2012, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

The Riviera Maya, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta reported occupancy increases of 3.1%, 8.7% and 10.6%, respectively, from January through May.

Mexico welcomed 23.4 million international visitors in 2011, a record-breaking year.

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