Mexico City, Feb 14 (IANS/EFE) Mexico registered “nearly 190 million tourists”, of whom 22.67 million were foreigners, in 2011, eclipsing 185.7 million tourists registered in 2008, the Tourism Secretariat said.
The figures, which were obtained from the Bank of Mexico, show that the number of visitors from Brazil rose 66 percent, while arrivals from Russia, up 55 percent, Peru, up 33 percent, and China, up 30 percent, also soared, the secretariat said.
The number of visitors from Colombia rose 23.2 percent, while arrivals from Argentina were up 18 percent and the number of visitors from Italy, up 13 percent, Australia, up 13 percent, and Britain, up 11.6 percent, also rose markedly.
Average spending by foreign tourists rose to $157.70 per visitor, up 7 percent from 2010, which had been the highest level registered.
Arrivals of foreign tourists totaled 22.67 million, up 2 percent from 2010 and 0.20 percent relative to 2008, the year when the previous record had been set.
Domestic tourists, meanwhile, totaled 167.3 million, up 4 percent from 2010 and 2.6 percent relative to 2008.
Several foreign airlines that serve Mexico reported large increases in passenger counts, including 71 percent at British Airways, 42 percent at United Airlines and 29 percent at Delta Airlines.
Among Mexican carriers, Interjet posted the best numbers, with its passenger count up 58 percent, while Aeromexico reported a 43 percent increase and Viva Aerobus saw its numbers rise about 36 percent, with all the figures being relative to 2010, the secretariat said.
The government declared 2011 the “Year of Tourism” in an effort to bolster the industry and counter the effects of media reports about the drug-related violence that has left nearly 50,000 people dead in Mexico since December 2006.
The tourism industry is one of the main sources of foreign exchange for Mexico and a generator of both direct and indirect jobs.