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Mexico tourism staying strong, despite news

Riviera Maya, Mexico

Despite recent headlines about violence from drug cartels, international tourism to Mexico has increased 2.1 percent in the first five months of 2011, compared to 2010. The country remains the top destination for Americans traveling abroad.

Figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce show that even though international travel from the United States has dropped, a larger percentage of those who are traveling out of America are going to Mexico.

Mexico also saw double-digit percent increases in visitors from Brazil, Russia and China.

According to Ricardo Anaya, Mexico’s deputy secretary for tourism, the violence is limited to certain geographic areas that can be avoided by tourists. The border where much unrest has occurred is located 1,200 miles from Cancun, which Anaya said is like avoiding travel to Houston because of issues in New York City.

About 98 percent of travelers to Mexico say they will come back and 99 percent would recommend the trip to others, according to surveys by Mexican tourism authorities.

In 2009, 31 percent of all U.S. international tourists went to Mexico. The vast majority of American tourists in Mexico go to six places: Cozumel, Riviera Maya, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City and Los Cabos. None of these destinations have yet had travel alerts.

For more information, read the CNN article.