GUATEMALA CITY – Tourist visits to Guatemala grew 5.6 percent last year compared with 2009, while the country’s tourism revenues increased 6.2 percent, the Guatemalan Tourism Institute said.
The institute’s head of market research, Francisco Chaverri, told a press conference that 1,875,777 tourists visited the country last year compared with 1,776,868 in 2009.
Chaverri said half of the visitors were from Central American countries, 34 percent from North America, 10 percent from Europe, 3 percent from South America and the remaining 3 percent from other regions.
Guatemala City, colonial Antigua and the archaeological center of Tikal and Atitlan were the places that attracted the most tourists in 2010, according to official statistics.
Tourism generated $1.38 billion in Guatemala last year, superior to the nearly $1.3 billion in 2009, he said.
Chaverri said that, despite the dampening effects of natural disasters and the economic crisis, Guatemala’s tourist industry grew within the goals set by the World Tourism Organization of 5-6 percent.
Growth in 2011 is estimated at between 4 percent and 5 percent, he said.
Tourism was the third biggest source of foreign currency for Guatemala in 2010 after exports, which brought in more than $8 billion, and remittances from emigrants amounting to $4.13 billion. EFE