Mexico Tourism Grows Thanks to Non-U.S. Visitors
Mexico predicts record tourist visits this year. But it's not because of a surge in U.S. visitors.
Don't get Mexico wrong. U.S. tourists still represent the lion's share of foreign visitors, and Mexico welcomes them and their green dollar bills. But Mexico is reaching out to visitors from countries such as Russia, Brazil, Peru and Colombia after fears of drug violence and the recession reduced U.S. visitor numbers.
The effort seems to be paying off.
Based on rising tourism numbers in the first half of the year, Mexican tourism officials predict the country will host 24.7 million foreign visitors in 2012, surpassing last year's record of 23.4 million.
The growth is good news for Mexico because tourism represents nearly 10% of the nation's gross domestic product and the country has been living under the specter of a drug war that has killed thousands of citizens.
"Despite one of the worst financial crises in years, a flu outbreak and security challenges, we are seeing the highest tourism numbers ever," Mexico's secretary of tourism, Gloria Guevara, said in an interview.