MEXICO CITY – Mexico earned $4.43 billion from visits by foreign tourists in the first quarter, up 14.8 percent from the same period in 2013, the Tourism Secretariat said.
Mexico welcomed 3.7 million foreign tourists in the January-March period, a figure that was up 10.1 percent from the same period in 2013, the secretariat said.
Foreign-exchange earnings from tourism totaled $1.63 billion in March alone, up 14.2 percent from the same month in 2013, the secretariat said in a statement.
The surge in revenues from tourism is a result of the federal government’s policy of “putting the generation of foreign exchange before international tourist arrivals,” the secretariat said.
Mexico welcomed 23.7 million foreign tourists in 2013, generating revenues of $13.81 billion, government figures show.
President Enrique Peña Nieto said last week at the 39th Tourism Fair in the Caribbean resort city of Cancun that Mexico planned to invest 180 billion pesos ($13.8 billion) over the next five years in tourism infrastructure to turn the country into a global power in the industry.
“Mexico has everything necessary to become a tourism power at the global level,” the president told industry leaders gathered in Cancun.
Tourism accounts for about 9 percent of Mexico’s GDP and ranks as the No. 3 source of foreign exchange, trailing only the oil industry and remittances.
The Mexican tourism industry directly employs about 2.5 million people.