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Mexico's First-quarter International Tourism Results Show Significant Growth

Mexico's First-quarter International Tourism Results Show Significant Growth
International tourism revenues up 14.6 percent compared with same period last year
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.

About the Mexico Tourism Board The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) brings together the resources of federal and state governments, municipalities and private companies to promote Mexico's tourism attractions and destinations nationally and internationally. Created in 1999, the MTB is Mexico's tourism promotion agency, and its participants include members of both the private and public sectors. The MTB has offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

About Chichen-Itza, the World Wonder Swiss-based New7Wonders Foundation is revising the original seven ancient wonders of the world, and Mexico's Chichen-Itza in Yucatan State is one of 21 finalists to become a new Seven World Wonder. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, Chichen-Itza is considered to have been one of the greatest Mayan centers of the Yucatan peninsula, and today is one of the largest and most impressive archaeological sites in Mexico. To vote for Chichen-Itza as one of the new Seven World Wonders, visit the "new7wonders" website.***

by Erick Laseca
Erick Laseca works for Burson-Marsteller as public relations liaison for the Mexico Tourism Board in Chicago.
Erick Laseca Mexico Tourism Board 312-228-0517 ext14
FOR PRESS ONLY: For additional ideas, help with a story or general travel and tourism information about Mexico, please contact the MTB's North American Press Room directly at 1-800-929-4555.

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