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Mexico tourism results show significant growth

Mexico`s international tourism arrivals and revenues were up in the first quarter of this year, demonstrating the continued growth of one of the country`s most important economic sectors and allaying…

Mexico`s international tourism arrivals and revenues were up in the first quarter of this year, demonstrating the continued growth of one of the country`s most important economic sectors and allaying fears that the new passport requirement imposed on travelers returning from Mexico to the United States would hurt tourism south of the border.



According to Mexico`s Tourism Secretariat (Sectur), the country`s international tourism revenues during January, February and March reached US$3.758 billion, a 14.6 percent increase compared with results posted for the same period in 2006. The 3.6 million international tourism arrivals during the period represented an increase of 8.3 percent compared with first quarter 2006 results and 1.2 percent compared with first quarter 2005 figures.



Mexico`s tourism trade balance, at US$1.946 billion, registered a 31.5 percent increase compared with the US$1.480 billion reported during the first quarter of 2006, Sectur reported.



According to the latest statistics, the number of international visitors to Mexico via cruise ships increased 78,000 from first quarter 2006 to first quarter 2007, showing that the country has more than recovered from the damage suffered by Cozumel-Mexico`s and the Western Caribbean`s largest cruise port-by Hurricane Wilma in late 2005. Revenues also increased nearly 20 percent from first quarter 2006 to first quarter 2007, to US$173.8 million.



Although the Mexican government expressed fears last year over the possible effects on tourism of the requirement, which took effect in January 2007, that travelers returning to the United States from Mexico and other Western Hemisphere countries carry a valid passport, the numbers show U.S. travel is actually up compared with last year, with 15 percent more Americans traveling to Mexico during the first quarter of this year than during the same period in 2006.



These numbers demonstrate that requiring a passport has not deterred Americans from traveling to Mexico, said Rodolfo Elizondo, Mexico`s Secretary of Tourism.

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